Across the Commonwealth 9/6

09/06/2011 09:54 AM

News and notes from a busy opening weekend on the gridiron:

-The rehash from the U of L and UK opening games last week has not been positive. Cat fans appear to be more of a panic mode after the ugly 14-3 win over Western Kentucky than Card fans after an uninspiring 21-9 victory over Murray State.
But I think both fan bases should relax for now. The old cliche’ says that teams usually make their biggest improvement between week one and week two. Having a raggedy season-opener isn’t necessarily a precursor to a flop season. Now if both teams look the same this week, then it might be time to hit the panic button.
-On that note: How bad would it have been if UK and U of L had played this week? As my Morning Sports Buzz radio co-host Greg Brohm noted on Tuesday morning, it would have been good for TV purposes. Sunday night’s ESPN showcase game was Marshall at West Virginia, and the U of L-UK game might have had more appeal to the network.
*But it would have also been a disaster for the quality of play *judging by the way both teams looked last Thursday. It could have bad enough to scare off ESPN for life. Hopefully an extra week or two will allow the Cards and Cats to perform at a higher level.
-I had a pretty rough first week on my college football picks, going 3-4 overall and 4-3 against the spread. I did call Baylor’s upset of TCU and had South Florida covering at Notre Dame (didn’t have the guts to pick the Bulls outright). But that was negated by completely whiffing on Georgia and Oregon.
Lots of interesting games on the slate this week. How will U of L and UK bounce back? T*he Cards are favored by just 4 at home* against a pretty decent Florida International squad. Central Michigan isn’t as dangerous as FIU, but anything’s possible the way the Cats played against Western. UK is currently a 13-point favorite over CMU.
Other games of notes this weekend: Arizona (+14.5) at Oklahoma State, Oregon State (+21.5) at Wisconsin, Mississippi State (-7) at Auburn, Cincinnati (+7) at Tennessee, Virginia Tech (-20) at East Carolina, Stanford (-21) at Duke, Alabama (-10) at Penn State, South Carolina (-3) at Georgia, BYU (+7) at Texas, UConn (-1) at Vanderbilt, and Notre Dame (-3.5) at Michigan. I’ll review these games later in the week.

Here’s a look at my Top 10 and Heisman list after week one:
TOP 10
1-Alabama-Not exactly going out on a limb here, but no need to get cute. It’s still early, but the right now the Tide is the best team in the best league with the best coach.
2-LSU-I’m officially done ragging on Les Miles after what the Tigers did to the Ducks. LSU-Bama is shaping up as the Game of the Year.
3-Florida State-I really believe the Seminoles are back, and I almost voted them No. 1. If they beat Oklahoma in a couple of weeks like I think they will, that might do it.
4-Oklahoma-Sooners were impressive in a rout over a decent Tulsa squad, but I really have a hunch they’re going to lose in Tallahassee.
5-Wisconsin-I really like the Badgers this year. They’ve always run the ball and played solid D. Now they have an elite playmaker at quarterback in Russell Wilson.
6-Nebraska-The Huskers’ success hinges largely on whether Taylor Martinez plays at a high level.
7-South Carolina-I still like the Gamecocks as a darkhorse national title contender, but I’m concerned that the defense gave up 37 points to East Carolina.
8-Boise State-The Broncos deserve all the national props they get, but at the end of the day all they really did was beat the fifth or sixth best team in the SEC.
9-Virginia Tech-The Hokies destroyed a pretty good FCS opponent in Appalachian State, which isn’t as easy as it sounds these days.
10-Stanford-We probably won’t know if the Cardinal are for real until they go to Arizona Sept. 17.

HEISMAN LIST
1. Andrew Luck, Stanford-Went into the season as the frontrunner and could stay there until the Cardinal loses.

2. Kellen Moore, Boise State-If anybody deserves to win a Heisman as a lifetime achievement award, it’s this guy. Problem is, Saturday’s win over Georgia might be his only marquee game of the year. (The TCU game isn’t as big of a deal as it seemed before last week).

3. Robert Griffin, Baylor-I know, the thought of a guy from Baylor winning the Heisman sounds ridiculous. But if he is as electric as he was in the win over TCU and the Bears can make a dent in the Big 12, he’ll end up in New York.

4. Trent Richardson, Alabama-Richardson was rather unspectacular against Kent State, but he’s still the best player on the best team. A big game at Penn State this weekend might move up back him near the top.

5. Russell Wilson, Wisconsin-All the Badgers have lacked in recent years is a dynamic quarterback. Enter Wilson, who lit up a bad UNLV team in his debut and could have a Cam Newton-type of effect for Wisconsin.

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