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Heroes and Villains From College Football Week One: SEC West Rules, Tua Balls, Harbaugh Stalls

With College Football Week One in the books, it’s time to look back to the long weekend and select the Football Heroes and the Villains.

THE HEROES

 SEC West: Overall the SEC went  13-1 in the opening week — with Tennessee getting hammered by West Virginia — but six of the opponents were FCS schools.

But the SEC West kicked many rear ends.

Alabama beat Louisville 51-14  (ACC)
LSU beat Miami, 33-17   (ACC)
Auburn beat Washington, 21-16  (PAC 12)
Ole Miss beat Texas Tech, 47-27  (Big 12)

The SEC West scorecard for Week One:

  • 7-0 record
  • 4-0 vs. other Power 5 conference teams.
  • 2-0 vs. other Power 5 teams ranked in top 10  (Washington + Miami.)

Maryland:  The Terrapins knocked off overrated Texas for the second straight year, but here’s the best thing about the day: The MD  offense honored late teammate Jordan McNair by taking the field against Texas with no right guard and only 10 men on the field to open the game. The Terps were flagged for a delay-of-game penalty –which, to his credit, Texas coach Tom Herman declined.  “They wanted to go out there and make sure Jordan was remembered,” Maryland interim coach Matt Canada said after the victory.

West Virginia QB Will Grier: Nice launch to the 2018 Heisman campaign with Grier flinging for five touchdowns and 429 yards in a 40-14 wipeout of Tennessee. Grier completed 25 of 34 and if he can avoid injuries the Mountaineers have a legit chance to win their first Big 12 championship.

Hawaii coach Nick Rolovich: After a 3-9 record last season the Rainbow Warriors are 2-0 after beating Colorado State 43-34 and making it look easy in with a 59-41 win over a good Navy team. Soph QB Cole McDonald completed 72 percent of his passes for 846 yards and nine TDs with no interceptions. The 51 points were the most scored by Hawaii in a game since 2010, and the most given up Navy in a game since 2012.

Alabama QB Tua Tagovailoa: Spectacular and brilliant in the destruction of the Louisville defense, Tagovailoa completed 12 of 16 for 227 yards and two touchdowns and romped for a rushing TD. That despite sharing playing time with Jalen Hurts. Nick Saban never had a quarterback like this. With apologies to Joe Namath and Ken Stabler, Alabama never had a quarterback like this.

LSU quarterback Joe Burrow. After sitting on the Ohio State bench for three years, the transfer made his first college football start and delivered a smart and poised performance in a pressurized environment. Burrow’s basic stats — 11 of 24 for 140 yards and no touchdowns — hardly reflect the quality of his play against a swarming Miami defense. Bottom line: Burrow led the Bengal Tigers to six scoring drives in this 33-17 whupping. And that’s huge considering LSU’s recent history of sludgy offenses. “I thought he kept his poise,” LSU coach Ed Orgeron said. “Same thing we saw all camp. And he was able to get a win. We’re 1-0, and that’s what counts.”

Appalachian State coach Scott Satterfield: Granted, Appy State didn’t pull off what would have been an epic upset by beating Penn State in Happy Valley. But the Mountaineers hung 28 fourth-quarter points on Penn State’s defense, and the Nittany Lions barely escaped with a 45-38 win in overtime.  Satterfield went into Penn State with one of the youngest teams in the nation, and scared the bejeezus out of everyone there. The 38 points were the most allowed by Penn State in a non-conference home game since 1983. Satterfield, now in his fifth season at Appalachian State, averaged 10 wins over the past three seasons and is 37-15 overall. You want an emerging candidate for a Power 5 job? Satterfield is your mang.

Stanford wide receiver JJ Arcega-Whiteside: Running back Bryce Love entered the season as the preseason betting favorite to win the Heisman Trophy this season. But San Diego State stacked its defensive front and limited Love to 29 yards rushing on 18 carries.  But the No. 13 Cardinal didn’t sweat, turning to Arcega-Whiteside for six catches, 226 yards and three touchdowns in his team’s 31-10 win. The 6-3, 220 pound senior made San Diego State defenders look small and helpless.

THE  VILLAINS 

Michigan coach Jim Harbaugh:  Michigan managed a mediocre 307 total yards (and just 1.8 yards per rush) in a 24-17 loss in South Bend. Harbaugh is 9-9 in his last 18 games.  He’s 1-6 against rivals Michigan State, Notre Dame and Ohio State in his three-plus seasons at Michigan. And Michigan faces both Michigan State and Ohio State on the road this season. The Wolverines are 0-17 in their last 17 road games against ranked opponent; they haven’t won a road game vs. an AP Top 25 team since 2006. The only longer active streaks for consecutive road losses to ranked teams  belong to Colorado (28), Purdue (23), Kansas (19) and Vanderbilt (19).

Washington Huskies: Touted in the preseason (for good reasons) as the best team in the Pac 12, the No. 6 Huskies played a tough, physical game in losing by five points to Auburn in Atlanta. It was a virtual road game for Washington, and while this loss doesn’t eliminate coach Chris Petersen’s team from CFB Playoff contention, this was an opportunity to knock down a strong SEC team and bring home a so-called statement victory. Didn’t happen. To have any shot at making the four-team playoff, the  Huskies cannot afford to lose another game.

 First-year head coach Willie Taggart and Florida State: In case you missed it, the overhyped 20th-ranked Seminoles committed five turnovers and had a punt blocked for a touchdown in an ugly 24-3 loss to Virginia Tech. This was not the debut that Taggart dreamed about. The last time Florida State was held to three points or fewer at home was Sept. 20, 2008, in a 12-3 loss to Wake Forest.

Texas:  The preseason No. 23-ranked Longhorns stumbled again in a 34-29 loss to Maryland at FedEx Field. The Longhorns spit up a chance to win late but turned the ball over on their final three offensive possessions. Maryland is 2-22 against ranked teams since 2011; both wins have come against Texas. By the way … I’m tired of these teams like Florida State and Texas being ranked in the preseason Top 25 based on name brand instead of merit.

Kansas coach David Beaty:  Oh, my. Beaty is  3-34 at KU after a humiliating 26-23 overtime loss to NICHOLLS STATE. As Chris Vannini of The Athletic pointed out, Beaty has more losses against FCS teams (two) than wins over FBS teams (one, over Texas.) New Kansas AD Jeff Long has some work to do. Next up for the Jayhawks: a game at Central Michigan. The Jayhawks have lost 46 consecutive road games; last road victory was at UTEP in 2009. A KU professor went on Twitter after the latest disgraceful loss and made a case for disbanding the Jayhawk football program.

The Miami Hurricanes and coach Mark Richt: Obviously it’s laughable that the ‘Canes entered the season ranked 8th in the AP poll. That was crazy. Here’s the reality: after getting body-slammed by LSU on Sunday night, and going back to late last season, Miami has lost four consecutive games by an average margin of just under 18 points. The offensive line is porous, and senior quarterback Malik Rosier has terrible accuracy. During Miami’s four-game losing streak Rosier has completed 44% of his passes with four touchdowns and seven interceptions.

UCLA coach Chip Kelly: The era began with a 26-17 loss at home to Cincinnati. UCLA’s average of 4.5 yards per play was the fourth-lowest average for Kelly as a collegiate head coach. This will be a tougher rebuild than Kelly anticipated.

Nick Saban: Grouch.

Media peoples who are blasting Saban:  Silly. Hypocrisy. Did y’all just realize this? Were you born five days ago, or something? If Saban is a jerk, the media helped make him that way by venerating and enabling him for many years.

Florida Atlantic coach Lane Kiffin: No one expected FAU to win at Oklahoma; the Sooners were a 21-point favorite. But a 63-14 smackdown? Kiffin and FAU had won 10 in a row before getting dusted for 28 first-quarter points and 650 total yards by the Sooners. Need to play defense, Coach Kiffin. Being a social media troll won’t help you stop anything … well, except for maybe your career advancement. Enough already with the Kiffin hype.

Thanks for reading…

-Bernie

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