NCAA Football Report (Week 1)

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The NCAA season has officially kicked off with the first week of the season to a lot of excitement. It is the type of excitement that is only reserved for the beginning of seasons and the NCAA season fits the profile for many. Except the NCAA season also has one of the biggest let downs of any league both professional and amateur. After building up the return of these student athletes the NCAA rarely delivers as they have some of the worst opening weeks in sports. The first week of many team’s seasons is essentially just a warmup as many times it acts almost like an exhibition game. Big programs invite smaller programs to play games in order to get back into the groove of playing football. None of these games is really supposed to be much of a challenge for the big teams who usually all walk over their opponents. Usually though week one can have one or two big upsets or challenges for teams as the smaller programs somehow make a game of it and sometimes even win. The 2012 season did not follow the typical pattern though as a few teams cut it close but there were no real upsets. In fact week 1 of the 2012 season was pretty much boring. There were only a few tight games but many of them had questions to begin with and still all of these teams pulled out the win. Despite exposing some of the weakness of some teams the first week was generally uneventful. Even with that though, the first week of football in the NCAA did reveal some things about the league. First the rankings at the beginning of the season were generally accurate. The top three teams had easy days rolling over their teams. More than that though was the fact that the Crimson Tide who had the toughest game against #8 Michigan could be better than #2. The Tide impressed everyone as the defending champions looked like they were playing a Division II school when they welcomed Michigan to Texas for the opening game. The Wolverines seemed to be completely out of their league as the Crimson Tide looked like they deserved to be one of the top teams and could even repeat as champions. The first week of the season was also a point of proof for the Oklahoma State Cowboys. After losing their QB and top wide receiver many believed that they would be back below the top 25 but because of last season they began the season at #16. In their first game they proved that the offence was not gone. Beating Savannah State 84-0 was a statement even though it was against Savannah State. Granted they will not put up 84 points against the best teams but 84 points by itself is an impressive feat. The week 1 of the NCAA did give a couple of insights into the 2012 season but it was still an extremely uneventful week. Even the premiere game of the weekend was less that great with Alabama running over Michigan. The NCAA season will get better as teams begin to get into their schedules and begin to see much better teams as the chase for the National Championship has begun.

 

Heisman Watch:

1. Matt Barkley, QB (USC)
Matt Barkley began the season as the favorite to win the Heisman and after week 1 the thoughts were justified. Leading the Trojans against the Hawaii Warriors Barkley was the all-star for the team. He is leading the USC Trojans in their first year after the bowl ban and will need to keep up his performance if he hopes to guide the team to a big bowl and possibly to the National Championship. Barkley is at the top of the list right now and all he needs to do is continue to put up 300+ yard games to stay there although that could be easier said than done.

Stats (1 Game):
60.5% cmp
372 yds
3 TD
0 INT
168.8 rtg

 

2. Geno Smith, QB (West Virginia)
He was on the radar to begin the season but smith used his first week against Marshall to launch himself further into the discussion. Smith was easily the best player on the Mountaineers when they took on Marshall as he passed for 4 TDs and over 200 yards. He also used his athleticism to add another TD on the ground while rushing for 65 yards. He is clearly the dark horse in this race but Geno Smith is making a name for himself. Following the pattern of Robert Griffin III Smith needs to continue performing like this if he wants to overtake Barkley.

Stats (1 Game):
88.9% cmp
323 yds
4 TD
0 INT
200.9 rtg

 

3. Montee Ball, RB (Wisconsin)
With a QB leading the race the running backs are well represented with Montee Ball leading the charge for the backfield stars. With a QB winning last year Ball is hoping that he can gain more traction as the season goes on. In week 1 Ball led the Badgers in a game that was much tighter than it should have been. Barely getting out of a game against a warm-up team Ball was good enough to keep the Badgers in the game. Still the 120 yards he earned against a team that should not have been able to stop him was not good enough. If Ball wants to continue his run towards the Heisman he will need to step it up and begin truly leading his team.

Stats (1 Game):
32 rsh
120 yds
3.8 avg
1 TD

 

4. Le’Veon Bell, RB (Michigan State)
Stats (1 Game):
44 rsh
210 yds
4.8 avg
2 TD

5. De’Anthony Thomas, RB (Oregon)
Stats (1 Game):
3 rsh
64 yds
21.3 avg
1 TD

 

AP Top 25:
1. Alabama Crimson Tide (2)
2. USC Trojans (1)
3. LSU Tigers (3)
4. Oregon Ducks (5)
5. Oklahoma Sooners (4)
6. Florida State Seminoles (7)
7. Georgia Bulldogs (6)
8. Arkansas Razorbacks (10)
9. South Carolina Gamecocks (9)
9. West Virginia Mountaineers (11)
11. Michigan State Spartans (13)
12. Clemson Tigers (14)
13. Wisconsin Badgers (12)
14. Ohio State Buckeyes (18)
15. Virginia Tech Hokies (16)
16. Nebraska Cornhuskers (17)
17. Texas Longhorns (15)
18. Oklahoma State Cowboys (19)
19. Michigan Wolverines (8)
20. TCU Horned Frogs (20)
21. Kansas State Wildcats (22)
22. Notre Dame Fighting Irish (–)
23. Louisville Cardinals (25)
24. Florida Gators (23)
25. Stanford Cardinal (21)

 

Key Scores:
Notre Dame Fighting Irish 50 – 10 Navy Midshipmen
– To open up the Saturday the Notre Dame Fighting Irish went to where their history started as they went home to Dublin, Ireland and watched redshirt freshman QB Everett Golson tear through the navy defence

 

#13 Michigan State Spartans 17 – 13 Boise State Broncos #24
– The Broncos moved on with their first game without superstar QB Kellen Moore in four years but they could not get the offence going against the stingy defence of the Spartans  as Michigan State came out on top in a close game

 

#12 Wisconsin Badgers 26 – 21 Northern Iowa Panthers
– The Badgers were moving on without Russell Wilson but were looking to Montee Ball for some leadership and although he broke the 100 yard barrier he could not keep the Badgers from keeping this game way too close

 

Ohio Bobcats 24 – 14 Penn State Nittany Lions
– In their first game under the new sanctions the Nittany Lions season got only worse as they lost to a team that they should have got past in the Ohio Bobcats as the Lions set off the though that this could be a very long 4 years of football in Happy Valley

 

Next Week:
Utah Utes vs. Utah State Aggies (September 7th; 8:00 pm EDT)
– In another week of top teams facing less than great opponents there will be some small rivalries including the Utah and Utah State rivalry that will get underway with the Utes looking to work their way up in the national picture

 

East Carolina Pirates vs. #9 South Carolina Gamecocks (September 8th; 12:21 pm EDT)
– Another rivalry will take some focus as the Gamecocks look to move on from a rocky start to the season when they barely escaped an SEC game against Vanderbilt as they look to get back up the rankings against in state rivals

 

Purdue Boilermakers vs. #22 Notre Dame Fighting Irish (September 8th; 3:30 pm EDT)
– The Irish are coming off of a long trip to Ireland and they will come back to a tough competition against their rivals the Purdue Boilermakers who will look to end the positive start to their longtime rivals

 

#2 USC Trojans vs. Syracuse Orangemen (September 8th; 3:30 pm EDT)
– The Trojans are not stepping up the competition but people will be watching as Matt Barkley plays his second game in his Heisman Trophy year as he will need to do big things against the Orangemen to continue his Heisman campaign

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