Buckeyes, Braxton highlight College Football’s opening week …
Now that the smoke has cleared, it’s time to recap the beginning of the season.
First, it was good to get a good stretch in with some warm-up acts on Thursday. The year kicked off with an 18 game appetizer, which included second-ranked TCU’s win over Minnesota as well as Utah’s controlled win versus Michigan and their new khaki-clad head coach. Add a nice matchup when South Carolina edged UNC and the appetite was primed for the full weekend schedule.
The first Saturday of the season was definitely the entrée portion of the menu. Customarily, the schedule included tons of non-conference contests. Per usual, most were warm up acts, as the power conference schools tend to work the kinks out against lesser opponents. However, there were a few neutral-site, eyebrow raising matchups. Lots of people focused on the Arizona State vs. Texas A&M battle. ASU was a top 25 team, but, was considered underdogs versus the Aggies. As assumed by the Vegas odds makers, Texas A&M extinguished the Sun Devils, with freshman speedster, Christian Kirk, being the difference maker.
Another highly touted out of conference battle was between two traditional powers. Well, they WERE two traditional powers. Texas and Notre Dame are considered iconic programs. They’re second and third in total football wins. Both their helmets are works of sports art … BUT. Only the Irish showed up. Led by Malik Zaire, Notre Dame destroyed the Longhorns. The Irish could be a serious team to keep an eye on.
Aside from Notre Dame and A&M flexing their muscle, the majority of the attention was paid to the Big Ten conference. Most college football fans wanted to see if last years bowl victories were a sign of progress and quality depth in the league. Again, keep in mind — early in the season, large programs usually get their feet wet against smaller foes. Well, Penn State didn’t get that memo. For the first time since 1941, the Nittany Lions lost to Temple. The game wasn’t even close. Temple piled up 10 sacks. Yes, 10.
The B1G ship would continue to take on water when third-ranked Alabama went toe-to-toe with top 25 ranked Wisconsin. It was supposed to be the premier matchup of the weekend, but, the Crimson Tide rolled the Badgers. If anyone can appreciate a solid run game, it would be Wisconsin. Sadly, they happened to witness it from the other end this week. Derrick Henry took out any lasting revenge he might have had from last year’s Sugar Bowl on the Badgers.
Oh yeah, Nebraska lost to BYU on a last minute hail Mary. Or hail Brigham. Whatever you call it, the Big Ten was less than stellar during the first college football Saturday.
Luckily, the nations top ranked team and the conferences big dog was on display Monday night. As the majority of the nation enjoyed a labor-less Labor Day, sports fans readied for a glimpse of the defending champs.
The nation also curiously watched to see who would lead the Buckeyes on offense. After super secret evaluations, Urban Meyer tabbed Sugar Bowl/National Championship winner, Cardale Jones, as the starter. The QB known as “12 gauge” picked up right where he left off.
The Buckeyes seemingly scored at will as Cardale and crew picked apart Virginia Tech through both run and pass plays, finishing with a merciful final score of 42-24. The much hyped OSU-quarterback quandary was essentially put to rest with Cardale’s performance. However, J.T Barrett continued to be a team leader and still contributed in his current role as backup.
On a night where the starting QB was supposed to be the main focus, the former QB and conference player of the year (2011), Braxton Miller, stole the show.
Despite switching positions and jersey numbers, the dynamic playmaker showed his talents haven’t changed one bit. Brax-spin Miller is just as dangerous as ever and the Buckeyes appear to be as great as advertised.
That is tough news for the rest of the conference, nation, and especially next week’s opponent, University of Hawaii.