There's an old coaches' saying which says that, in college football, the most improvement occurs between game one and game two. After this weekend, there are a lot of teams out there hoping that's the case.
Let's take a look at what happened in weekend one of the best regular season in sports.
Kansas Jayhawks: We'll start locally with the Kansas Jayhawks, led by new coach Charlie Weis. The good news is that Kansas won; the bad news is that it was against South Dakota State. Yet, the optimists among us will point out that the opening game in the Turner Gill regime didn't start so well and that, for a football program in need of a big injection of confidence, a win is a win.
Our star of the game award goes to Tony Pierson, who showcased his quick start and blazing speed with two rushing touchdowns and 124 yards on 20 carries. On the defensive side of the ball, Bradley McDougald looked like the four-star recruit he was coming out of high school--two interceptions, a pass break-up, and one tackle for a loss. The much-hyped Dayne Crist was average, at best, and admittedly played a poor game. Let's hope that it was Crist's rust and adrenaline which caused him to miss a wide-open Daymond Patterson in the end zone, and make a couple of bad reads which would have resulted in picks against a Big 12 defense.
Roll, Tide, Roll: The anticipated match-up between Alabama and Michigan in Arlington, TX became just the latest proof that the best in the SEC is much, much better than the best in the Big Ten. The game also derailed Denard Robinson's Heisman campaign--the Michigan QB was 11 of 26 with two interceptions and gained only 27 yards on the ground.
Best Game: In a battle of great Journalism Schools, Northwestern came back against Syracuse and won 42-41. The 'Cuse had 596 total yards and scored 28 straight points to take the lead, but could not hold on late.
Disappointments: The list is long--Georgia was unimpressive in beating Buffalo; Randy Edsall's Maryland club beat William and Mary by one, 7-6; Iowa once again under-performed in a non-conference game, beating Northern Illinois 18-17; the Mike Leech era at Washington State started with a thud--a 30-6 loser to BYU; Florida had to come back in the second half to beat Bowling Green; and Penn State could not harness the emotion of finally playing football, losing to a good Ohio team, 24-14.
Underrated: Speaking of Ohio, let's give it up for the job former Nebraska coach Frank Solich is doing in Athens. The Bobcats are definitely the favorite in the MAC.
Next week: Were Missouri fans licking their chops as they watched Georgia struggle against Buffalo? The best game next weekend will be the Tigers' opening SEC conference game and it'll be played in Columbia.