2009 College Football Early Season Tidbits

Last Updated: September 9th, 2009 by Travis Edwards (Bankroll Sports Contributor)
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The opening week of college football is always exciting given the unknown factor entering the season. Not that college football lacks any surprises throughout the season, but all the previews for teams and everything just do not tell the story until the teams actually take the gridiron. Who could have predicted the mighty Oklahoma Sooners would fall in their first game of the season? There was a lot of interesting stories over the past 7 days and they are sure to continue as we prepare for round 2 this weekend. We will take a look at some of the teams that impressed last weekend as well as the ones who really disappointed. Keep these teams in mind before making your selections this Saturday and be sure to check out our expert picks here at bankrollsports.com.

Surprise Teams:

No. 10 California Golden Bears

We warned a few weeks back that California could be the team to dethrone USC from the Pac-10 this season and they proved those expectations are legitimate with a 52-13 thrashing over Maryland last weekend. The Golden Bears possibly performed better than any of the top teams in the nation. Jahvid Best added more supporting evidence that he is the best running back in the land by carrying the ball just 10 times but posting 137 yards and 2 touchdowns in the process. Perhaps even more impressive was QB Kevin Riley. Riley threw 17 for 26 (65%) totaling 298 yards and 4 touchdowns. If the Golden Bears can have that type of success through the air with Best in the backfield, California can start thinking about a BCS Bowl Game by season’s end.

No. 9 BYU Cougars

I know a lot of people will be jumping on the BYU bandwagon after their huge upset over Oklahoma last weekend, but its hard to see if the Cougars were that impressive or simply the Sooners were not? The Cougars skyrocketed in the standings this week to #9 in the nation. The BYU defense is what really stood out in the game. The Cougars held the Oklahoma offense to just 265 yards of total offense nearly half what the Sooners offense produced in 2009. The Cougars defense returned 8 starters on that side of the ball and look very disciplined controlling the Sooners passing game. BYU has a favorable schedule for the rest of the season and that is why they are getting so much attention after the huge victory. The Cougars must be able to establish so more offense before they take on teams like Florida State and Utah, but they are definitely a team to keep on your radar this season. BYU is 17.5 point favorites on the road at Tulane this weekend to keep the momentum alive.

No. 23 Cincinnati Bearcats

The Bearcats took the Big East by surprise last year and evidently there has been a culture change down in Bearcats country that will be sticking around for a while. The Bearcats were 5 point underdogs on the road at Rutgers before the Cincinnati offense exploded to route the Scarlet Knights 47-15. QB Tony Pike led the no huddle offense to rack up a career high 362 yards of passing with 3 touchdowns. Cincinnati offense totaled 564 yards of total offense. The offense was so impressive they appear they could single handedly take down the Big East again this year. We know that is big words after just one game, but when are people going to start giving credit to the Bearcats program that looks as stable as any on top of the Big East.

Disappointment Teams:

No. 13 Oklahoma Sooners

Well, the idea of Sam Bradford returning to win a National Championship may already be out the window. There is no doubt that the Sooners loss this past weekend was the biggest shocker of opening week. Bradford went down with a shoulder injury and the Sooners offense never looked like the potent 50 point scoring machine they were in 2008. There is now even more concern with Bradford expected to miss as many as 4 weeks of football. Luckily, the schedule is less than difficult until they meet Miami 3 weeks from now. Still, the Sooners have tons of question marks to figure out. The offensive line did not look productive and it is apparent that the playmakers on the outside are vacant. It’s amazing how a team can be supernaturally powerful last season and come out looking like an average college football team a year later. There is work to be done and the Sooners best get things right before the Big 12 schedule starts. Oklahoma was previously number 3 in the country before dropping 10 spots with the defeat.

Illinois Fighting Illini

Illinois has all the makings to be a very strong team in the Big Ten this season, but they actually became the only Big Ten team to lose this weekend. The Illini passing game was expected to be the difference maker this season and get the team back on the Bowl Game path. However, Illinois was blown out by Missouri 37-9 in a dismal defensive performance. Illinois managed over 325 yards of offense which may not be extremely impressive, but could have perhaps produced more than 9 points. Dual threat QB Juice Williams had a solid performance throwing the ball, but the Illini defense simply could not stop the Big 12 offense of Missouri. The Tigers racked up nearly 450 yards of total offense. The Illinois defense was the biggest concern heading into the year and perhaps an even bigger concern now. Williams gives the offense the potential to contend in the Big Ten, but the defense could make 2009 another long disappointment.

No. 8 Ohio State Buckeyes

Illinois was not the only Big Ten team to disappoint this weekend. The Buckeyes nearly became the Oklahoma story early Saturday by barely escaping with a victory over Navy. The Buckeyes defense lost a ton of talent last season in players like Marcus Freeman, Malcolm Jenkins, and James Laurinaitis. The Buckeyes were expected to reload and remain a solid defensive threat. However whether it was the defense lack of experience or just simply thrown for a loop by the Navy option, the Buckeyes defense failed to impress giving up 342 yards on the game. The Ohio State offense managed just 365 total yards of offense and was far from overpowering. Of course, Terrelle Pryor remains a gifted talent that will give any defense a hard time. Still, that may not be enough if the Buckeyes do not find some explosion on offense and more productivity on the other side of the ball. The poor performance come from what many consider a weak opponent. However, the Buckeyes will have the opportunity to right the ship when they take on number 3 ranked USC Trojans this week. The Buckeyes will be 6.5 underdogs in the colossal battle that will take center stage Saturday night.

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Posted in College Football - Last Updated on Wednesday, September 9th, 2009 @ 10:54 pm (EST)
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