|Alabama was off to the races early against Michigan. (AP photo)|
Save for a three-hour span in the middle of this past Saturday, watching the Yankees take on the Orioles, it was all college football all the time. From an early morning game in Ireland to a game in Oregon that ended around 2 a.m. it was for many of us a return to the greatest day of the week. Sure, Sundays are fantastic too, when the NFL is in full swing, but there's just something special about a college football Saturday.
It really makes you ask yourself, how in the world do we all survive without it for those other seven months of the year? I have no idea.
The return also means our College GameDay Rewind column is back as well, where we break down the wins and losses from our college football picks column and the ecstasy and agony in getting there, not to mention the now infamous openings that cover everything in the world of sports and beyond.
College football is back. College GameDay Rewind is back. And we couldn't be happier.
Another group that couldn't be happier is the Alabama Crimson Tide and their fans. Being a Michigan supporter, I was pumped to watch the opening game in primetime between Alabama and the Wolverines. I legitimately thought Michigan would not only give the Tide a fight, but win the game as well.
And when the Michigan defense stopped Alabama cold for a three-and-out to open the game, I was ready to watch a gigantic upset in the making. It turns out that was one of the very few highlights for Michigan in the game, as Alabama shook off that start and ended up rolling to a 41-14 victory.
It wasn't pretty for the Wolverines. Worse yet, it wasn't pretty for the Big 10, which needed a solid showing in this game to prove the conference could play with the big boys, or the biggest boy, the SEC. But, again, it was the ever-present chant of "S-E-C!" "S-E-C!" "S-E-C!" at the end of the blowout victory being heard.
Michigan, on paper, wasn't a true challenger in this game. The Wolverines needed a magical performance from quarterback Denard Robinson to get the job done. But Robinson looked skittish the whole game, continually passing up the option to keep the ball and turning it upfield himself. Instead, he handed it off and watched as the offense gained maybe a yard against the Alabama defense.
By the time he got in the game, it was over. Now, Michigan has no shot at a national championship, unless a whole lot of craziness happens over the rest of the season. A Big 10 championship is still possible, along with a major bowl berth, but a darker start could not exist for the Wolverines and their fans.
Alabama, on the other hand, proved again it's one of the best teams in the nation, if not the best. The only team that could make a claim ahead of the Tide is Southern Cal, which also won big on opening night, against Hawaii. When it comes to Nick Saban vs. Lane Kiffin, though, we all know who gets the final edge.
So, my Week 1 prediction for a national championship game is Alabama and Southern Cal. A lot can change, but I don't think anyone can challenge that pick right now.
|These Oregon uniforms are fantastic. (AP photo)|
One of the teams that could crash the party is the Oregon Ducks, a team with unbelievable speed that is so much fun to watch on the field. The Ducks have a shot, no doubt, and I'm not the only one who believes. I am, it appears anyway, on my own in thinking the Oregon uniforms from Saturday night were awesome.
Of all the crazy uni choices by the Ducks over the years, I believe these were the ones best suited for the team. The bright green and yellow were in their complete glory, a color scheme you expect to see from Oregon. The helmets are still a little out there, but I always found myself looking at the color scheme and design whenever a close-up was shown.
Great choice, Oregon. I only hope you stick with those for the rest of the season.
On the topic of sticking, here is my list of Top 25 winners this week that shouldn't stick to their rankings, needing to drop instead: No. 4 Oklahoma (barely beat UTEP), No. 9 South Carolina (survived late against Vanderbilt), No. 12 Wisconsin (five-point win over Northern Iowa), No. 13 Michigan State (barely beat Boise State at home) and No. 23 Florida (which had to put away Bowling Green late).
Teams rarely drop after victories, but it doesn't mean it shouldn't happen. The above five are all deserving of being sent back.
Oklahoma State beat Savannah State 84-0 Saturday. That's either impressive or overkill, depending on who you ask. But the most shocking part of the score was the fact the Cowboys were 62-point favorites, the largest favorite in college football history. Sixty-two points! And Oklahoma State covered that with 22 points to spare. That's unbelievable.
Skipping over to another unbelievable story ... the one where the New York Yankees are on the verge of blowing a huge, double-digit lead in the AL East. After a loss Sunday afternoon to the Orioles, the Yankees are just two games up on Baltimore, who took two of three in the Bronx this weekend. The worst part, if it wasn't for a bases-loaded walk and then an error Saturday, the Yankees probably get swept.
If the punchless Yankees, who look like they don't want to win anymore, do end up blowing the AL East lead, manager Joe Girardi has to go. It's simple. The Yankees made a big mistake hiring Girardi in the first place (Don Mattingly should have gotten the job), now they need to rectify it. If only they could find a way to bring Donnie Baseball back ... but that's wishful thinking.
Make sure you check out our State of the Yankees column for more on the week that was right here on the website. It's time for the gloves to come off.
Speaking of the Yankees, there is a commercial running during games of a Ford car decked out in pinstripes with the Yankees logo prominently displayed. Now, I realize there are rabid fans out there that will do anything to let their rooting interest be known. But this is simply insane. Anyone who would purchase this car is out of their mind.
|Ichiro and the Yankees lead the AL East by two games. (AP photo)|
First, it's a horrible looking car, one that I would be embarrassed to be seen in, and I'm a huge Yankees fan. Second, are you really going to drive that thing to work? To school? To a funeral? I don't think so. Keeping it for an occasional drive to the Stadium for a tailgate is fine, but completely insane for everyday use.
Staying on the hate factor ... the team on my hate list this week for college football is the Oregon backups. The starters raced to a 50-3 lead midway through the second quarter, making my pick of the Ducks -35.5 a near-lock. Then the backups come in and the end result is a 57-34 final and a loss against the spread. So, Ducks backups, take your place on the weekly hate list.
This version of College GameDay Rewind is just our first part of the week. Part II will update this Tuesday with the additions of the Kentucky-Louisville game from Sunday and the Georgia Tech-Virginia Tech game from Monday night. Two for the price of one ... I'll take that every time.
Just make sure you come back for Part II of our Rewind column, and also check out our State of the Yankees, State of the Mets and State of the Red Sox stories and all the rest of our coverage here at the GameDay website.
So, without further delay, here's the breakdown from an eight-pack of games from Friday and Saturday.
Brad's Week: 5-3 (spread); 6-2 (straight-up); 0-2 (upset picks)
Brad's Season: 5-3 (spread); 6-2 (straight-up); 0-2 (upset picks)
Brad's Money: UP $170
Craig's Week: 5-3 (spread); 8-0 (straight-up); 0-0 (upset picks)
Craig's Season: 5-3 (spread); 8-0 (straight-up); 0-0 (upset picks)
Craig's Money: UP $170
Glenn's Week: 4-4 (spread); 7-1 (straight-up); 0-1 (upset picks)
Glenn's Season: 4-4 (spread); 7-1 (straight-up); 0-1 (upset picks)
Glenn's Money: DOWN $40
No. 24 Boise State +7 at No. 13 Michigan State
Brad's Score: Boise State 28, Michigan State 27
Actual Score: Michigan State 17, Boise State 13
If you told me before the game Boise State wouldn't score an offensive touchdown, I would have thought this game wouldn't have been close. Then again, if you told me Michigan State would only score 17 points, I would put my upset pick of Boise down as a lock. Well, both of those things happened Friday night and it added up to a victory against the spread for me, although I'll have to take the upset pick defeat. Luckily, we go by the spread here, but man, I love nailing those upsets. Anyway, Boise State's shot at a BCS game is over, while Michigan State was exposed as a pretender, considering its high No. 13 ranking coming into the game. The Broncos, of course, are the worst they've been in several years, just in time to enter the Big East. Can anything go right for that conference? No, no it can't. So, the bottom line is the GameDay Battle for College Football Supremacy starts with all three of us (me, Evil Craig and Newbie Glenn) picking up victories. Hopefully this is a sign of things to come this season.
Notre Dame -16 vs. Navy (Ireland)
Brad's Score: Notre Dame 23, Navy 20
Actual Score: Notre Dame 50, Navy 10
By the time I pulled myself out of bed Saturday morning, the score in this game was already 27-0. Shockingly, I decided against returning to dreamland and stuck with the rest of the game from Dublin, Ireland. Even more shocking was Notre Dame actually came through with a big performance on a big stage. Those have been few and far between over the past decade or so for the Irish. Maybe things are changing for Notre Dame. Maybe. All three of us went with the Irish to win, but Navy to cover, so we all drop to 1-1 heading into the afternoon games.
Miami -2 at Boston College
Brad's Score: Miami 27, Boston College 21
Actual Score: Miami 41, Boston College 32
|Miami came back to win against BC. (AP photo)|
Southern Miss +20 at No. 17 Nebraska
Brad's Score: Nebraska 35, Southern Miss 14
Actual Score: Nebraska 49, Southern Miss 20
Southern Miss just wouldn't go away in the first half, trailing 21-17 late in the first half. But Nebraska outscored the Golden Eagles 28-3 from the final minute of the second quarter to the final whistle for what turned out to be a rather easy victory against the big spread. In his analysis, Glenn said he didn't think the Nebraska defense would stand up well this season. Turns out, he wasn't far off, as Southern Miss put up 20 points. Still, he gets pegged with the loss as the Nebraska offense more than made up for the defensive deficiencies. He drops to 2-2 on the day after missing with Southern Miss. Evil and myself went with the Cornhuskers and improve to 3-1 with the victory.
Bowling Green +29 at No. 23 Florida
Brad's Score: Florida 38, Bowling Green 14
Actual Score: Florida 27, Bowling Green 14
Of the Saturday games, I knew this could be the one where I make a move against my competition. Both the Evil One and Glenn went with Florida to win against the gigantic spread. I didn't see it the same way, although I still had the Gators winning comfortably. Just like I said in my breakdown, this is not the Gators of the past, who would have won this game by 50. This Gators team just doesn't have the weapons on offense to cover a huge spread anymore, even against inferior opponents. I didn't, however, believe Florida would be in trouble of getting upset, which they were against Bowling Green until finally pulling out a 13-point win. But the only thing I cared about was being the lone winner on the game, which is always a special feeling of accomplishment. I improve to 4-1 with the win. Evil goes to 3-2 and Glenn falls to 2-3.
No. 14 Clemson -3.5 at Auburn (Atlanta)
Brad's Score: Clemson 30, Auburn 24
Actual Score: Clemson 26, Auburn 19
|Clemson pulled out the closest game. (AP photo)|
No. 8 Michigan +14 vs. No. 2 Alabama (Texas)
Brad's Score: Michigan 24, Alabama 23
Actual Score: Alabama 41, Michigan 14
Obviously, this was bad. But I was clinging to hope going into the fourth quarter, as Michigan had to outscore Alabama in the period 7-0 for me to pull out a miracle cover against the spread. That was very much a reality. That dream was crushed pretty quickly, however, as Alabama was the team to put up a touchdown in the period. Really, though, I was never in this game. I drop to 5-2 with the loss. Craig and Glenn had no problem with the game, picking Alabama to win going away. Craig ties me for the week so far, with a 5-2 record. Glenn gets over .500 for the day with a 4-3 mark. Hey, at least I'm not Floyd Mayweather Jr., who lost $3 million betting on Michigan plus the points. Now, that's bad.
Arkansas State +35.5 at No. 5 Oregon
Brad's Score: Oregon 50, Arkansas State 10
Actual Score: Oregon 57, Arkansas State 34
All I have to say about this game is ... are you kidding me? Oregon was up 29-0 after the first quarter. They were up 50-3 midway through the second quarter. This was going to be a lock, even with the huge 35.5 point spread looming in the back of my mind. But then the Oregon starters came out, and backup quarterback Bryan Bennett came in. It was all downhill from there. Arkansas State scored the next 17 points to cut the lead to 50-20 at the end of the third quarter. Still, the worry isn't truly there yet, as the Ducks have to score a touchdown in the second half, one that would put them over the needed point threshold. And when they did that, there would be no way Arkansas State could put 27 points to beat the pick. Well, Oregon did get its touchdown, early in the fourth quarter, to push the lead back to 57-20. So, could Arkansas State finish the game with 27 points? No. Arkansas State ended the game with 34 points. Thirty-four points. Are you kidding me? Arkansas State outscored the Ducks 24-7 in the second half to turn what should have been casual late-night viewing into a late-night horror flick, one that will surely haunt my dreams when I finally put the computer away and climb into bed as I type this part of the column in the wee hours of Sunday morning. Again, are you kidding me? As you can probably guess, I could go on forever here, but luckily this isn't the end of the week. There is still a Sunday afternoon game and then a Monday night matchup to follow. Hopefully, those two games leave me in a better mood, cause this is a terrible way to end a seven-pack of Saturday selections. So, I finish the opening two days of the opening with a 5-3 record, with two games to play. It's not a bad mark, but after starting 5-1, it hurts big-time. Evil Craig ends with a loss as well, but is tied with me with a 5-3 record. Glenn, in his first foray into the challenge, ends with a .500 record, at 4-4 over the days.