Sunday, September 6, 2015

Finishing out the first week in College Football ... Labor Day weekend

The 2015 College Football season has kicked off ...

Sunday, September 6th 

Click Here for Notes
Junior QB 12 Austin Appleby leads Purdue offense into Huntington, WV
for a rare Sunday, Week 1 season road opener, for the Boilermakers
  • Purdue at Marshall 2:00 pm on FS1 
  • The Boilermakers are entering the third season under coach Darrell Hazell, finishing 3-9 in '14; while the Thundering Herd are coming off a 13-1 season, 52-23 bowl win over Northern Illinois in Boca Raton Bowl. Coach Doc Holliday is entering his sixth season in Huntington, as Marshall returns six on offense, five on defense
  • Former OSU assistant, Purdue
    head coach Darrell Hazell enters
    third season at the helm.
  • B1G vs. C-USA on Sunday afternoon ...

Monday, September 7th
  • #1 Ohio State at Virginia Tech 7:00 pm on ESPN 
  • Ohio State will take on Virginia Tech in the final game of College Football's opening weekend on Labor Day evening at Lane Stadium in Blacksburg, Va. The two teams are meeting for the second consecutive season as the Hokies won in Columbus last season, 35-21
  • Urban Meyer has only one loss in the regular season, in his first three seasons at Ohio State, last year's loss to Virginia Tech (7-6)
  • Frank Beamer is the dean of college football coaches, entering his 29th season at the helm at Virginia Tech. The Hokies are coming off a 33-17 Military Bowl victory over Cincinnati
  • Virginia Tech is 18-1 in home openers, ironically the lone loss was to FCS James Madison in '10
  • B1G vs. ACC on Labor Day in prime time!
Since arriving in Columbus, Urban Meyer has enjoyed a new
element in his offense, a high-quality running back. Back in
'15, junior RB 15 Ezekiel Elliott leading the Buckeyes.

Road to the Rose Bowl and College Football Playoff
The Pac 12 opened 7-5 in Week 1. The Big Ten is 7-5 with two remaining games, the Good, the Bad and the Ugly of Week 1, thus far.

Not ranked: Ohio State and Purdue, since they need to finish the Week 1 games.

B1G defenses hopefully take care of business at Marshall and at Virginia Tech, respectively, but a .500 start is certainly possible. ESPN's Mark May is picking VA Tech this morning. He is hedging his comments, saying Ohio State will rebound, like 2014, when they hit the Big Ten ...

Game of Week 1 - OSU @ VA Tech will be played on Labor Day, in prime time.

It is an early 2015 College Football season, so upsets do happen (see Stanford waking up at 4:45 in the morning for a game). Northwestern has improved, but timing is often, everything. We shall see how the season plays out for both Stanford and Northwestern play out over the course of the next 11 games.

However, Penn State has issues more than a Tempe upset. Nebraska and Wisconsin have new coaches. Utah is a good program, but Michigan has a new coach, as well. Often adjustments are necessary, see Bob Stoops or Nick Saban, at OU and Alabama, Year 1 vs. Year 2. Further, teams often improve most, between Game 1 and Game 2.

We would not be surprised to see the Big Ten get two more wins to close out Week 1, but here are the Top 10 for Week 1 in the Big Ten.

1. Michigan State (1-0) - Nice 37-24 win on the road at Western Michigan (0-1), over P.J. Flick's team. The Spartans won the Big Ten in 2013, lead by QB Connor Cook. Cook is back, along with a solid offensive line, defensive line, but Mark Dantonio has new defensive coordinators and back seven on defense to work with over the course of the 2015 season.

GAME of Week 2 - Oregon (1-0) at Michigan State (1-0) - but, will the Ducks have a healthy #1 QB?

2. Northwestern (1-0) - Great 16-6 win over a ranked Stanford team at home. Lead by defense and QB Clayton Thorson, a redshirt freshman version of C.J. Beathard for Northwestern? The Iowa coaching staff recruited Thorson, as well.

He is only a freshman. Both Northwestern and Standford had some ups and downs on Saturday. Someone had to win and it was the biggest win for Northwestern, since the Gator Bowl win over Mississippi State, to close out the 2012 season at 10-3.

Pat Fitzgerald and Northwestern won the recruiting battle. Now, the redshirt freshman Thorson is the #1 QB at Northwestern leading the 2015 Wildcats ...
  • The Wildcats are a B1G West team to watch, especially with the first half the B1G schedule
  • The Wildcats are also coming off back to back 5-7 seasons, so it was only one game
  • Pat Fitzgerald has recruited well over the past several seasons, but the offensive and defensive lines haven't performed well enough the past two seasons
3. Iowa (1-0) - Nice win, as the Hawkeyes defeat the #2 FCS program, Illinois State 31-14.
C.J. Beathard and Drew Ott, two captains, played very well. They are leaders on each side of the ball for the Hawkeyes in 2015. Nice start out of the blocks. 

By the way, Illinois State may have a good freshman QB, but, like North Dakota State (0-1) and Northern Iowa (0-1), each are reloading or rebuilding in the MVfC. The 2014 season is over, but Week 1 doesn't say a lot on how well or strong a program, likely will be.

Week 2: Cy-Hawk Game, in Ames, against a Iowa State (1-0) program that has given Kirk Ferentz (7-9) fits at times, especially in Iowa City. The fan base at both schools want results in 2015.

Iowa has won two of the last three in Ames, but the 2011 game was a 44-41, 3 OT game, won by Paul Rhoads' Cyclones. Ultimately, the games in the Big Ten are always more important.

4. We also all played FCS programs and we won ...
  • Indiana (1-0) - needed a stopped 2 point conversion on last series, to defeat Southern Illinois 48-47, ugh! However, this a program that won at Missouri last year, after losing at Bowling Green, so any given Saturday
  • Maryland (1-0) - Well, Nile Kinnick's punt return record falls, as Terps beat Richmond 50-21 to kickoff 2015 ...
  • Rutgers (1-0) - 63-13 win over Norfolk State, when suspended players came back for second half. Five players were dismissed prior to game for the Scarlet Knights

5. Illinois (1-0) - Thunderstorms delayed the Bill Cubit era's kickoff on Friday, The Fighting Illini beat Kent State 52-3 on Saturday to open the new era of football in Champaign. The Fighting Illini beat Minnesota, Penn Sate and Northwestern last year, on their way to a 6-7 season. Junior QB Wes Lunt is a good quarterback, along with senior RB Josh Ferguson.

5. Wisconsin (0-1) - Kirk Herbstreit during the ABC/ESPN game coverage said the Badgers will likely be favored now the rest of the season. #2 Alabama rolled Wisconsin 35-17, as the Paul Chryst era begins, at his alma mater, in his hometown of Madison.

The Badgers have as favorable schedule over the next 11 games, as do the Iowa Hawkeyes. The rest of the OOC games in September are not at Iowa State, Pitt and North Texas (former assistant), like Iowa. Wisconsin now hosts Miami-OH, Troy and Hawaii, ahead of the Big Ten opener in October.

The Big Ten opener on October 3rd: Iowa (1-0) at Wisconsin (0-1) will be an interesting conference opener for both programs. The Big Ten West is wide open

On any given Saturday, it will be wide open in the Big Ten.

7. Minnesota (0-1) - #3 TCU beat the Golden Gophers 23-17. QB Mitch Leidner is dangerous ahead of the chains, but when he has to win his arm, the Golden Gophers can be manageable. The defense lost their Top 2 tacklers from 2014, Top S and Top LB. The Golden Gophers, like most of the Big Ten West are not loaded with play-makers, like Ohio State or the top College Football powers.

8. Nebraska (0-1) - Hail Mary BYU 33-28 ...
Welcome to Lincoln, Mike Riley, a guy who is a cross between Hayden Fry/Dr. Tom Osborne (offensive QB) and Kirk Ferentz (NFL guy) ... not Bo Pelini, who finished seven years in Lincoln with at least nine or ten wins each season, but consistently four losses.

There will be a likely transition between Mike Riley's style of play and discipline (defense) and the past 7 years. Like with Hayden Fry, Kirk Ferentz and Dr. Tom Osborne, winning and Big Ten titles didn't happen Day 1. The Huskers are not Iowa, but winning nine or ten games may not be the case, either.

9. Michigan (0-1) - Fifth year senior, transfer Jake Rudock threw five interceptions at Iowa in '14. Game 1 at Utah for the Wolverines, the game manager, threw three interceptions in the 24-17 loss on the road to open the Jim Harbaugh era at Michigan. The Wolverines have plenty of work, coming off the Brady Hoke years, including trouble in road games.

Michigan will welcome Gary Anderson back to the Big Ten, as Oregon State (1-0) comes to Ann Arbor for the Week 2 game. Despite the troubles in Game 1, Rudock is likely the better QB right now in Ann Arbor. Shane Morris, a junior, has only thrown interceptions in his short career, thus far.

10. Penn State - what happened to the Nittany Lions, losing to Temple for the first time, since 1941? It wasn't a simple upset win, there are questions lost in transition from the O'Brien era into the James Franklin era. Temple had a sound 27-10 win over the Nittany Lions. There is plenty of work ahead for the Penn State program, as they enter second season under Franklin.

The Pac 12 opened 7-5 in Week 1. The Big Ten is 7-5, with 2 B1G games left, over the Labor Day holiday weekend!

College Football is back!

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