Monday, September 03, 2007

Week One Observations

From Gainesville

My preseason Blogpoll, like any poll with Michigan in the top 25, was baloney. Cheap, big box store baloney. Indeed, it is likely to remain so until at least October, when we actually know what teams are deserving of the barest rating. I firmly believe that any poll – especially mine – should not be a static exercise. Rank ‘em when you know ‘em, I say.

So, in thinking about the first week, we have –

- First the Gators. Like most fans, I stayed until the lightning delay, then fled to my vehicle. Observations include –

1. Tim Tebow can throw, which should be a surprise to no one outside the “Worldwide Leader”. (After all, he did hold the Florida high school passing record.) If Tebow makes his reads this season before opting for his feet, the Gators are going to look really good on offense, especially with our receiver corps.

2. Riley Cooper had 122 yards receiving? Riley Cooper? When you think of Florida’s receivers, the names Caldwell, Ingram and Harvin come to mind before Cooper. Cooper’s success was perhaps a result of Western Kentucky having to cover the other 3, or as a result of them merely being Western Kentucky, but whatever the cause, having that 4th option for Tebow just makes the Gator offense scary.

3. The defense, despite the 3 points, needs work, especially the secondary.

I’d like to say we will know more after Troy, but I doubt it (other than the return of Brandon James). The coaches called a pretty plain vanilla game on offense, and I expect the same next week. Save up the good stuff for the Vols.

- Next, to the extent that this post was a prediction, I was wrong, as was amply pointed out pre-season by the SMQ. Notre Dame is simply “un-good”. They won’t be ranked in my poll anytime again soon.

- I’m not going to waste print space on Michigan. Bye-bye.

- The best showing in “a real game” week one was by Georgia, hands down. Stafford looked sharp, and the Bulldog defense held the Cowboy offense to only 3 for 13 on 3rd down conversions. Oklahoma State had only 266 yards of offense. (Remember, Oklahoma State QB Bobby Reid had a better QB rating than Brady Quinn last year). In 2006, the Reid led offense of Oklahoma State scored less than 14 points only once (10 in a loss to Texas). They scored 41 in beating Nebraska, and 34 in beating Alabama in the Independence bowl.

- Cal’s offense looked potent in defeating Tennessee, but the difference in that game was the two “big plays” (the vicious hit on Ainge resulting in a fumble for a touchdown, and the Desean Jackson punt return). It is hard to say at this point just how effective the Vol’s offense really is, but for Cal to give up nearly 400 yards at home shows how vulnerable they just might be (I imagine John David Booty licking his chops). Although 45-31 games make great viewing, they aren’t indicative of good fundamental football by either team.

- 1As for the other “real” game of the weekend, I didn’t watch it - the Auburn – Kansas State game. But the box score looks ugly. Auburn was 3 of 15 on third downs with 291 yards of total offense to the Wildcats 316 yards. K-State managed only 27 yards net rushing, while Auburn had 62. And K-State had 16 penalties for 141 yards? (or 45% of their total yardage!)

My poll will be dynamic over the next few weeks, but my top 5 as of the first weekend (pending the FSU-Clemson game) are –

1. Georgia
2. LSU
3. Cal
4. Oklahoma
5. Florida

No USC? Well, as far as we can tell anything by the “body bag” games so far, Oklahoma and Florida looked better than USC. When USC plays at Nebraska on September 15th, we will know far more.


Anonymous said...

Good observations. I don't like Tennessee having a week off to before they play us, especially after smarting from their loss. But, on the upside I can't remember an opening game where we looked sharp from the get-go. In years past we usually screw around and don't get the lead until the late 2nd quarter. Sure, it was W. Kentucky, but we looked sharp and hopefully that continues.

BTW, the Auburn game was a good game, you should have watched it. Auburn did what they usually do, jack around for 3 1/2 quarters and then pull something out of their defensive ass at the last minute to win.

Gator Duck said...

roaminggator, I agree with your assessment of the Gators. Despite the fact that there is obviously a lot of work to be done, and Mergz is absolutly right in his analysis, this was by far the best overall opening day Gator performance in many, many years, certainly the best since 2001.

Anonymous said...

You're really going to have LSU at #2 in a highly dynamic poll? Of its 7 possessions that began in its own territory, it had 1 TD and 6 punts. LSU won by a large margin because MSU is completely helpless on offense, not because the Tiger offense was that explosive.

If Georgia can jump up that high and USC can fall that much, I can't see why you have LSU that far up there. Perhaps you can do a post on this point.