T-Bone’s College Football Tailgate Week 1: Welcome Back, Everyone!
Each week, Jonathan “T-Bone” Smith will look back at a variety of topics from the weekend of college football.
Ohio State starts hot, slows in win over Buffalo: Not the start Buckeyes fans were looking for to what many hope is a National Championship season.
I liked the Buckeye offense in the first quarter, where it seemed like Braxton and Co. could do no wrong. Granted, that’s an awful lot like saying I enjoyed the good parts of “Dude, Where’s My Car” – the problem was, there weren’t enough funny parts of that movie to make it good. Neither were there many bright spots after the initial quarter for the Buckeyes offense. While Khalil Mack and his beastly defensive efforts had a lot to do with that, Braxton Miller, who at times showed a more polished passing game, needs to minimize the mistakes. It seems like the offense looked more comfortable when they were moving with tempo, and getting to the line quickly. That happened mainly in the first quarter. Fortunately, Jordan Hall was able to take advantage of some gaping holes, and started his 2013 campaign with a 100 yard game. More of that, please.
On defense, the Buckeyes clearly missed having Bradley Roby and C.J. Barnett in the defensive backfield. Armani Reeves got picked on early and often, and the defensive line failed to get as much pressure on the quarterback as fans had hoped. Joey Bosa seemed stout in his debut performance, and the line will no doubt get better, but developing a pass rush is going to be as important as any other aspect of this team’s performance if the Buckeyes are indeed going to be national championship contenders.
Degenerates Against the Spread: I asked my twitter followers to tell me if they thought the Buckeyes would cover the 34.5 point spread his weekend. The vast majority (+95%) answered yes.
We’ll keep track of it over the season, but so far, the degenerate gamblers who follow me on twitter are 0-1.
Who I liked this weekend: Louisville QB Teddy Bridgewater, FSU QB Jameis Winston, Georgia RB Todd Gurley, Pitt WR Devin Street , Buffalo DE Khalil Mack, Texas Tech QB Baker Mayfield, North Dakota State.
Bonehead Move of the Week: Florida Atlantic head coach Carl Pelini telling his team to spike the football on a 4thdown. Granted, it was at the end of a game that had long since been decided. But if you’re trying to tell your players to focus and never take plays off, you can’t very well be guilty of not knowing the down and distance, no matter what part of the game it is. Hell, the guys calling the game on TV are pointing out that it’s fourth down - and trust me, no one wants to get out of the stadium faster than the TV guys calling a blowout in September. Maybe Carl was worried about his brother somehow running up to him on the sidelines and screaming at him like a crazy person. That is a legitimate fear.
Who I hated this weekend: Johnny Manziel. Easy to do, given his track record. But on a week where he already got away with the NCAA version of a crime, with little penalty, the story shouldn’t have been about JM dissing his coach, and getting into it with Rice players. Hey Johnny – if the guys who play at RICE are getting into your head, what’s going to happen when you play SEC defenses?
And the lack of respect towards Kevin Sumlin says as much about Manziel as it does Sumlin in my book. Reign in your star player, Coach, before you end up with a mess on your hands. Johnny Football seems like a ticking time bomb, one that his coach seems unwilling or unable to defuse.
Play of the Week: This Villanova fake punt.
Took brass ones to call it, and brass ones to execute it. One of the best fakes in the history of televised sports.
T-Bone’s Top Ten
How this works – I am looking at the top 10 schools based on performance, and ranking them accordingly. This list will fluctuate wildly from week to week, and I’m not above correcting my mistakes by dropping someone completely out of the poll.
- Clemson: Best victory of any team so far this year. Will they underwhelm at some point this season? Of course; they’re Clemson. But this week? Best win on the biggest stage.
- Alabama: The offense leaves a little to be desired, and Virginia Tech in September is not the vintage you would buy if you could choose (The October-November VaTech? Tasty…), but Alabama will be right at the top of this list until they crap themselves.
- Ohio State: Win by 20 over decent MAC competition, but looked to be on the way to a 70 to nothing drubbing midway through the first quarter. Still, without some major weapons, the Buckeyes took care of business.
- Oregon : Umm, they’re really good. Again.
- South Carolina: We’ll find out much more this weekend about the OBC’s Gamecocks. Wait, that came out wrong…
- LSU: Cam Cameron could be the difference between LSU and a national championship. Some coaches are meant to be coordinators.
- Louisville: Ohio had no semblance of an offense, which may or may not be a tribute to Louisville’s defense. But Teddy Bridgewater is the reason why Ohio looked like they had no defense. He’ll put up big numbers every week in a weak conference.
- Georgia: Two of their best offensive weapons were dinged up, and yet, they were in their game with Clemson at Death Valley right up until the end. If their defense isn’t as porous as the vaunted Clemson attack made them look, this team could still be a sleeper to get back into the title picture.
- Florida State: Famous Jameis will face tougher defenses than Pitt. But for one week, he looked for real. In fact, screw it- he probably is for real.
- Texas A&M: I reserve the right to kick them out of the top 10 if Johnny Manziel doesn’t stop mouthing off to players and coaches, however.
Way too early prediction: Michigan 34 – Notre Dame 14. I think Michigan destroys Notre Dame this weekend. Maybe a little bit because of Brian Kelly acting like this isn’t a rivalry. But mostly because I think Notre Dame is vastly overrated, and that Michigan might actually be a pretty good football team.
Next week: Do the Twitter Degenerates redeem themselves? Will San Diego State give up more than 60 points? Will Carl Pelini try to call an offensive play while his team is on defense? Some of these questions will be answered.