A deep breath, a sigh of relief really, was heard across the south this weekend as college football finally kicked off for 2010. Some of the games went as expected but a few left the fans scratching their heads as they sobbed about the unfairness of it all.
Florida- Have you ever seen a longer, sustained case of opening game jitters? All the hype about Brantley hardly seems deserved after this one, but I am of the opinion that jitters are the better explanation than the Gators being just that bad. Time will tell, of course, and if they bring that weak stuff into a game against real competition, there will be a great wailing and gnashing off teeth across the Gator nation. If not for the defense, well, some things are better left unsaid.
Ole Miss- Have you ever laughed harder in your life? One of those moments where in years to come people will ask “Where were you when the true Nutt showed himself in Oxford?” I was here at command central scanning all the games unfit to watch as I waited for the Hog game to fire up on ASPN 3. You know ASPN, right? The Alabama Sports Programming Network? People claim Disney owns them but I think lil Nicky got the network as a present after winning the NC last year. Sure looks like it anyway. But I digress. As I am scanning the TV I find THE game ticking off the 4th quarter. I tense, sitting on the edge of my chair. Can Houston Nutt do it again? Can he snatch defeat from the jaws of victory once again? OT? OH NO! Karma for stealing $3 million from Arkansas on his way out the door. Oh well, you have no doubt seen the end so I will spare you the details but I have to add one last thing.
Alabama- I mention them here to give credit to a player I have bashed for a couple of years now. Julio Jones made one of the best catches I have seen with a one-handed reception resulting in a TD. I will not backtrack on the feeling he is over-rated just yet, but he deserves kudos this week for a fact.
Auburn- Cam Newton looked as good as advertised but it was against poor Arkansas State. I like ASU so I am not going to bad mouth them too much. I will be watching Newton when he gets to play an SEC caliber team. All that being said, he did the job against the competition he played and he didn’t make the schedule so a tip of the hat in his direction. He is very fast. I don’t know how he got caught stealing that computer. That freshman running back that went across state lines? He did ok.
Now to the meat of the matter. YOUR Arkansas Razorbacks! (insert standing ovation). Now I have to be honest with you. I am the eternal Eeyore. During the first quarter of the game I was truly concerned. I was just as aware as the next man that these young men were wired and after all the offseason hype they wanted to impress. Even as they looked good moving down the field I cringed with the end result of the first two drives. And Tech taking it to the 1 yard line got me cussing the defense for being a carbon copy of last year. No, I was not fair but I have been a Hog fan for 43 of my 52 years and I have seen my share of disappointment when hopes were high. Remember, I admitted to being Eeyore so what can you expect? Once they settled down, both sides of the ball came to play. Ryan Mallett looked like the machine we all expected him to be. His numbers were sick for the game. 21-24 with 3 TD’s, 1 INT ,301 yards and 87.5% completion rate. His QB rating stands at 225.77 going into week two against La.-Monroe. Completing 21-24 passes, even against an FCS school, is one heck of an effort. I have seen starting QB’s that couldn’t hit their target 87.5% of the time while throwing to a receiver on the sideline in pre-game. I reference Jordan Jefferson for one. The running game picked it up as well. I guess there will be a lack of 100 yard rushers since none seem to have taken command but Wingo and Davis both looked pretty darn good. Anthony Leon looked like a MONSTER at linebacker. That one delayed blitz where he smoked the QB was outstanding and Askew manned up a few plays where he looked like none would be able to handle him. Overall a good game all the way around.
I will not be able to view the La.-Monroe game this week. I will be in Tuscaloosa for the Penn St.-Alabama game. This proves, beyond a shadow of a doubt, that I love my wife. She was raised a Tide fan and I came along too late to save her. I will be able to see what the Tide looks like against a real team this week and with a little luck, go to Athens and see the Hogs against their first real competition the next week. Still debating making the trip to Fayetteville for the GAME against Bama. This is setting up to be a wonderful year, maybe. (Eeyore)