We promised the college football season would not disappoint for the fans that thirst for upsets, surprises, and excitement. Entering the season there were a number stories surrounding college football to keep an eye on and now since the start of the season there has been even more shocking headlines to emerge. With only 3 weeks of football in the books, what will happen next? We take a look at the Top 10 biggest headlines to date early in the 2009 College Football Season as we prepare for even bigger stories as the year progresses.
#10. Ohio State Buckeyes “Big Hump”
Ohio State entered the 2009 season with tons of anticipation behind their new star quarterback Terrelle Pryor. However, the one common agreement among college football enthusiasts is that the Buckeyes would need to finally win the big games. The Buckeyes knew they would have to beat USC this season if there was to be any glory. However, the Buckeyes failed to deliver yet again losing 18-15. The focus now turns back to salvaging the Big Ten Title and possibly making a BCS Bowl Game. Ohio State is now 0-4 against Top 5 teams over the last two seasons not to mention losing 3 straight losses in BCS Bowl Games over the last 3 seasons. If the Buckeyes are to return to the National Championship stage, they must find a way to get over the hump against the top teams in the country.
#9. “BCS Busters”
Heading into the 2009 season there was tons of talks surrounding the “BCS Busters.” Teams that were outside of BCS conferences played well in 2008 highlighted by Utah who took down Alabama out of the mighty SEC in the Sugar Bowl. BYU seemed to be the most likely candidate for this season after upsetting Oklahoma in week 1. However last Saturday both BYU and Utah suffered critical losses. It now appears that the non-BCS teams have their work cut out for them if they are to somehow make noise again in the 2009 postseason. Only Boise State and TCU has legitimate opportunities remaining. TCU still has a difficult schedule with meetings with Clemson and BYU. If any team is to become a BCS Buster this year it will likely be the guys in blue out of Boise State.
#8. ‘Rich Rod’ “Under Fire”
Coach Rich Rodriguez had much higher expectations for his first season in Ann Arbor in 2008. After introducing the spread offense at West Virginia, Rodriguez was considered a modern day mastermind with the headset. Anticipation was high in the “Big House” for the 2008 season, but the Wolverines just managed a 3-9 record struggling all season on the offensive side of the ball. However, the Wolverines have found confidence in year 2 of the Rodriguez campaign and are off to a solid 3-0 record including a big victory over Notre Dame 38-34. With the restored faith from Michigan faithful, perhaps in time Michigan will return to the national prominence.
#7. Blount “Punch seen around the world”
Do you think college football fans were disappointed after the opening night of the season for 2009? As Boise State and Oregon took center stage on the opening night of football, football fans tuned in around the world to the first meeting between top 25 teams in a premier match-up on Thursday night. Oregon came out flat and was never able to get things rolling in the game. The Broncos rolled in a low scoring 19-8 victory. However, it was the post game activity that had everyone in America talking that Friday morning. Oregon running back LeGarrette Blount was held to an ineffective performance on the playing field. Frustration reached its boiling point after the game when Blount was taunted by Broncos Bryon Hout who taunted the Ducks tailback during post celebration. However, things took a quick and sudden turn when Blount landed a right jab that sent Hout to his knees. Making matters worse, Blount was out of control while ushers attempted to escort him off the field making moves towards Boise State fans on the exit ramp. The “punch” ended Blount’s career as he was suspended for the rest of the season while this was his anticipated senior season.
#6. The SEC
One of the biggest questions heading into the season was if anyone would be able to stop the SEC from their 4th consecutive National Championship? All indications early on say no. The Florida Gators entered the season with the most 1st place votes in history. Until last week’s 23-13 victory over the Tennessee, the Gators seemed invincible. However, they are still going to be extremely difficult to beat. Also, the likes of Alabama and Mississippi have joined the Gators making up 3 of the top 5 teams in the country. Throw LSU in the picture at number 7 and the SEC is controlling the top of the rankings and it appears they will have their share of teams in BCS Bowls this year. With the former top 5 teams like Oklahoma, USC, and Oklahoma State already suffering losses, the best conference in football looks like they have all the making to bring home another crown.
#5. California at its “Best”
If you paid attention to any of our preseason conference breakdowns, we warned that the Pac-10 would be wide open this season. USC is under the control of a freshman quarterback and Oregon does not appear to be the front runner many thought they could be. While much of the Pac-10 is struggling, California is striving. The Golden Bears have climbed the polls to number 6 in the country with a 3-0 start outscoring opponents 146-41 in the process. One of the main factors in the Golden Bears success is no surprise by the name of Jahvid Best. The star running back is averaging a lucrative 7.8 yards per carry and already has 8 touchdowns in just 3 games which also have him catching some Heisman Trophy attention. Best is undoubtedly the top running back in the land and he has the Golden Bears prime success. If California contends to roll and can take out USC at home on October 3rd, then Best could lead the Golden Bears back to the BCS or even National Title stage.
#4. Trojans Fall
The USC Trojans entered the season ranked 3rd in the country, but the story surrounding the team evolved around freshman quarterback Matt Barkley. Barkley is the first ever freshman to start at quarterback for the Trojans. While the Trojans returned numerous starters on the offensive side of the ball, many figured they would not be as dominate as they have been over the Pac-10 in year’s past. However, nobody expected the Trojans would lose their first game of the year to Washington. The Huskies were winless last year at 0-12, but pulled off an amazing upset over USC kicking a field goal in the final seconds to lift the Huskies to a 16-13 victory. The Trojans losing seemed inevitable, but who would have thought it would have come from one of the bottom dwellers in the Pac-10. Now the question is will they be able to salvage a chance at their 8th straight Pac-10 Championship?
#3. The Return of the U
Entering the season there may have been no other team in the country with more concerns at quarterback than the Miami Hurricanes. After backups Taylor Cook and Cannon Smith announced plans to transfer, the Hurricanes were looking very thin at the most important position on the field. However, sophomore Jacory Harris has ended all concerns at the quarterback position. Harris has been spectacular in charge of the Miami passing attack. The Hurricanes have been absolutely dominant through the air averaging 328 yards each of their first two games. The emergence of the offense has contributed to Miami knocking off two straight Top 25 teams while looking unstoppable on offense. The Hurricanes who entered the season outside of the Top 25, have vaulted all the way to a number 9 national ranking. If the passing game continues to roll, Miami has all chances at contending for an ACC Championship. Perhaps their biggest test of the year will come this weekend when they travel to Blacksburg to take on the Virginia Tech Hokies.
#2. Sooners and Bradford Go Down
The return of the 2008 Heisman Trophy winner Sam Bradford had expectations riding high for the Sooners. Oklahoma sported the best offense in the country last season averaging over 50 points per game including an NCAA record 5 straight games over 60 points. The beloved offense was supposed to lead the Sooners to another shot at the National Championship after falling last year in the championship game to Florida. However, Oklahoma never made it past week 1 before those dreams were shattered. Oklahoma was upset by BYU 14-13. Not only did the Sooners offense fail to produce, but they lost Sam Bradford to a shoulder injury during the game as well. The loss ended most chances at contending for a National Championship, but any shot Bradford may have had at repeating for a 2nd straight Heisman Trophy.
#1. Gators “Road to Glory”
The biggest question of the year has yet to be answered, but it remains at the top of the list. The Florida Gators have already won two National Championships in just 3 seasons and are now big favorites to repeat again. The Gators entered the season as an overwhelming favorite and blew out their fist two inferior opponents 118-9. The Gators defense returned all 11 starters, and of course on offense they have the heralded former Heisman Trophy winner Tim Tebow. All indications show that Tebow is the front runner for another Heisman Trophy, but it is still early in the season. The Gators appeared untouchable until Tennessee kept the game close last week 23-13. Florida has already rewritten a bunch of pages in the record books. However, if they are to win another National Championship they will likely be considered the greatest team of the modern era. As for Tebow, he is already considered one of the greatest college football players of all time and winning another Heisman Trophy would concrete his legacy for all eternity.