Monday, September 2, 2013

Football 2013 - Week 1

by Bill Holmes 

While the NFL was still playing pretend games but charging real game prices, the college football season started full throttle. Many of the big schools play a patsy or two to start the season but there were a few good match-ups. Even the games against the Little Sisters of the Poor College or the multi-directional schools like Southeastern Louisiana can be telling. On rare occasions the tuneup game turns into a real dog fight or even loss.

So, let's dissect some of the first week action for the teams and conferences I care about.

First up are the Florida Gators. They played the always powerful Toledo Mud Hens Rockets in Gainesville. It was not a great game but the Gators won 24-6. The defense looked good, but they need to improve on offense quickly. Next week is an away game against Miami then eight straight SEC opponents. We'll know a lot more about the Gators after the Canes game.

The South Florida Bulls played the McNeese State Cowboys in Tampa. This should have qualified as a tuneup game too. McNeese St. is in the second division of college football now called the Football Championship Division (FCS). So, in Coach Taggart's debut the Bulls not only lost, they were crushed 53-21. This does not bode well for the season. The Bulls next play Michigan State in East Lansing. That may be very ugly. We probably need to chalk this up as a rebuilding year for the Bulls football program under new coach Willie Taggart. I predict a very long season.

TCU didn't play a patsy. They started their season by playing #12 ranked LSU in the Cowboys Classic at Jerry's World. The Horned Frogs played well and hung in there until the last few minutes of the game eventually losing 37-27. That may well be the toughest team TCU faces all year so I think they'll have a decent season.

In other big games #1 Alabama beat Virginia Tech 35-10. Their defense looks strong but the offense may be a little suspect. They scored on a punt return, kickoff return and interception. Only two scores by the offense. Does the Tide have a three peat in them?

#5 Georgia lost to #8 Clemson at Clemson 38-35 in a close game. That's barely an upset but it is disappointing that a top SEC team lost to someone outside the conference.

It will be interesting to see how the polls shake out now that there are some real games to base the rankings on.

I think TCU will have a good season. The Gators may have a decent team but they have a tough schedule as does every SEC team. They have to play at South Carolina and LSU plus games with Georgia and FSU, all top 12 teams. As for USF, I hope they survive with their lives and show some improvement through the season.

The NFL starts this week. There's not much hope for the Jaguars or Buccaneers but the Falcons are picked to win their division and some have them going to the Super Bowl. That would be a nice surprise.

So, while the 2013 football season has started, don't forget we still have some serious baseball left. It's a good time of year to be a sports fan.


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