Monday, September 1, 2014

Football 2014 - Week1

My recap of the only football games that matter

It's a new season for football. As I did last season, most weeks I will recap the action of the teams I care about. Occasionally I will also add a game or two by other teams that have significance or pique my interest. For those new to this thread, here are the teams I care about and why:
  • Bishop Kenny High School Crusaders in Jacksonville, FL - my alma mater
  • L.D. Bell High School Blue Raiders in Bedford, TX - the local high school and my youngest son's alma mater
  • University of South Florida (USF) Bulls - my alma mater
  • University of Florida Gators - a fan since I was a kid
  • Texas Christian University (TCU) Horned Frogs - the local Fort Worth university
  • Jacksonville Jaguars - my hometown's team
Those are the six teams that will probably be covered every week they play. Of lesser interest are the Florida State Seminoles (my oldest son's alma mater), Tampa Bay Buccaneers (college days in Tampa) and Atlanta Falcons (the Falcons and I moved to Atlanta about the same time). I am also looking forward to seeing more SEC games on the new SEC (ESPN) Network. In addition this is the first year for the college football playoff.
You can see although I now live in Texas and have for about 30 years I still keep my allegiance to Jacksonville, Florida, and the Southeast. So that's what you'll find here each week. This is week one since the high schools and colleges started. The pros kick off next week. Hope you enjoy the season filtered through my eyes and prejudices. 

As is the norm, the big football schools usually start the season with a patsy or two. Kind of like their preseason. There are a few exceptions. I must mention the #21 Texas A&M Aggies at the #9 South Carolina Gamecocks on Thursday night. This was the season opening game for the SEC and the first football game broadcast on the new SEC Network. I'm sure the SEC and ESPN were hoping for an exciting game. It was only exciting for the Aggies. It was torture for the old ball coach, Steve Spurrier, and his fighting chickens. The Aggies won 52-28 and the game wasn't that close. I suspect SC will drop a few notches in the next AP poll.

Friday night started out good with an overtime win by Kenny in the season opener at home. They beat the Bartram Trail Bears 23-20. This will be an interesting year for the Crusaders as they must replace all state and record breaking quarterback John Wolford and were 13-1 last year. John is now the starting QB at Wake Forest. Unfortunately for him, he lost his debut game on Thursday. BK should be grateful for this win. The statistics are drastically skewed in the Bears favor. Kenny was outgained 350-136 only 32 of which was on the ground and threw two interceptions. Amazing. A win is a win regardless of the stats so we'll take it.

Bell's opener was an away game at Keller Central. This one didn't turn out so well. Keller won 48-35. The Raiders were leading 29-14 at halftime but were then outscored 34-6 in the second half and those six points were scored with just over a minute left in the game. Seems they need a little work on those halftime adjustments. The stats weren't significantly different and each team had only one turnover. This is the first year for the 6-A classification. That caused some shuffling of the districts. Unfortunately for Bell, perennial power Southlake Carroll is now in the same district along with longtime rival Euless Trinity. Those two teams plus Coppell are in the preseason top ten area rankings. Could be a long season.

Saturday was the full blown start of the college season.

I was out Saturday night but had set the DVR to record the Gators game. I was careful not to check the scores. When I got home I started the recording and found the game was in a weather delay. Fast forwarded through the whole 3:30 recording to find they never did play. May get rescheduled for later in the season. Seems it drizzled all night in Gainesville. Hope they do play. Florida should be able to beat the mighty Utah Vandals. 

Next up was the feared Western Carolina Catamounts at the South Florida Bulls. Your first question may be what the hell is a Catamount? Well, here is the answer. Normally Western Carolina would be considered a patsy but USF has been bad lately and no game can be taken for granted. That proved to be the case. The Bulls won 36-31 although W. Carolina scored their last TD with only 9 seconds remaining in the game. Statistically the game was pretty close except for TOP. Big plays won for the Bulls. They had TD runs of 62, 60 and 52 yards. Not a good sign for the USF season. 

TCU had a much easier time against the always dangerous Stamford Bulldogs. The Horned Frogs easily won 48-14 and the outcome was never in doubt. TCU held the ball 46 minutes and outgained the hapless Bulldogs 555-143. A lot of Frogs players got into this game. In a quirky schedule year, TCU has next week off and then the Minnesota Golden Gophers come to Fort Worth. 

A couple of other games were interesting. Navy led #5 Ohio State at the half and again early in the 3rd quarter. Unfortunately the Buckeyes then took control and won 34-17. Too bad, I consider Ohio State and head coach Urban Meyers among my top dislikes.

#1 FSU had a hard time with the unranked Oklahoma State Cowboys. OSU got within three points early in the 4th quarter and within six with two minutes to go. Is this a good wake up call for the Seminoles or are they vulnerable this season?

#2 Alabama had some problems with West Virginia. They led by only three at the half and eventually won by ten.

The SEC was 10-3 this opening week. Only Vanderbilt lost to a non-conference team with a 37-7 drubbing by Temple. The Commodores are not the strongest football school in the conference. The biggest non-conference win was #12 Georgia over #16 Clemson 45-21. 

It's always hard to gauge teams based on the first week. Most big football schools play weak teams, new coaches and systems are in place, underclass starters are getting their first opportunities and many other variables. Most teams are healthy too so injuries haven't factored in yet. It's a long season.

Next week the pros enter the mix. Hopefully too the weather will be better in Gainesville and the Gators can start their season.


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