What We Learned Last Night

Because it's never too early for hasty, snap decisions.

South Carolina's defense is legit again.

Sure, NC State's offense helped them out some, but you could tell from watching that the Gamecock defense is going to be good. The secondary looked as inexperienced as it is, but the potential is there. The front seven will look even better once it all gets healed up. The offense sure is going to need some work, but the defense will keep them in most games.

Something must have been more wrong at Tennessee last year than we thought.

The debut for the Clawfense at Bowling Green was actually a success. It scored 24 points on the Sun Belt's best team, Troy, and an interception return gave the Falcons 31 for the game. Tennessee beat that 31 point mark only twice last year, and it was against teams (UAB and Mississippi State) which were probably not better than this year's Troy squad. Dave Clawson's relative amount of success at BGSU will be one of those things we'll be checking up on periodically.

 

Blue turf = death.

Boise State continued its domination at home, and the final score could have been nicer with execution in the kicking game. The real question from here on out is how buoyant the Broncos will be in the polls. They will get a nice bump from thrashing Oregon, but they play no one of note the rest of the season unless someone else in the WAC (Nevada?) gets dramatically better than last season. If the Ducks continue to struggle, that's another blow. Should BSU be the only undefeated non-Big Six team, they'll go to the BCS, but at this point we can't say for sure if they'll stay above an undefeated MWC team.

It wasn't that bad a night to be a I-AA team.

Villanova beat Temple. Coastal Carolina kept Kent State's lead under 10 until the fourth quarter. North Dakota State pulled within seven at Iowa State late in the third quarter. Eastern Kentucky only fell to Indiana by six. Utah State kept it close for a half with Utah. Now, I know that... what? Oh, apparently Utah State only plays like a I-AA team. Anyway, I know that these weren't powerhouses beating up on them, but it was a respectable showing for the lower division with no giant blowouts (yet).

Now we know why Brady Hoke left for San Diego State.

Ball State goes from a shade under undefeated to losing to North Texas. Maybe Todd Dodge is slowly but surely making the Mean Green better, but this was a home game for the Cardinals. Sometimes, all it takes is one game for puzzling off season moves to make sense.

The rust was evident.

Maybe the longest off season since 1981 took a toll on the teams last night. None of the ones on TV looked all that sharp, though the South Carolina and especially Boise State defenses were on point. The only teams that beat Bowling Green's 31 point mark were Utah (35 against Utah State) and Iowa State (34 against NDSU). Huzzah for the improving Cyclones from Ames, but the Utes beat their in-state Aggie bretheren 58-10 a year ago. Hopefully the rest of the country can polish things up by then or else we're in for an ugly weekend of football.

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