Monday, September 01, 2008

Upsets And Injuries Overshadow College Football’s Opening Weekend

Maybe Michigan should try a season opener on the road. For the second consecutive year the Big House has been turned into the House of Tears after the Wolverines were upset by a lesser opponent. Many thought that a new year and a new coach would bring new fortune to Ann Arbor but instead Michigan fans were faced with the painful reality of the status of their football program.

Then there is Texas A&M who is moving in a different direction under new Head Coach Mike Sherman. The Aggies looked much the same as they did under Dennis Franchione in their 18-14 upset loss to Arkansas State. A&M failed to score in the second half while allowing Arkansas State to post 15 points in the final 30 minutes for the upset. The vaunted Wrecking Crew Defense gave up 415 yards to the Red Wolves.

At least neither Michigan nor Texas A&M were ranked teams falling on their faces in the opening weekend. Clemson or Virginia Tech can’t say that! Both teams were preseason favorites to win their respective divisions in the ACC and now both are searching for answers after week one losses.

The Hokies struggled to find an offensive identity and only managed 12 first downs and 243 yards total offense in their 27-22 loss to East Carolina. The worst thing was the Virginia Tech, a team that prides itself on great special teams play, lost on a blocked punt that was returned for a touchdown.

Expectations were even higher for Clemson. The Tigers entered the season as the #9 team in the nation and had a worse offensive performance than Virginia Tech. Clemson struggled to move the ball against Alabama’s defense only gaining 188 total net yards in their 34-10 loss to the Crimson Tide.

There were a few contenders who escaped the upset bug but not the injury bug. Georgia has lost defensive tackle Jeff Owens for the season with a right knee injury. Ohio State is still waiting word on the extend of running back Beanie Wells’ injury and Missouri’s Jeremy Maclin suffered a high ankle sprain.