Scott Haynes, College Football Senior Editor
Philadelphia, PA (Sports Network) -
The first week of college football certainly didn't disappoint. There were the usual storylines concerning national powers destroying lesser competition. There was also the WAC and Mountain West showing plenty of fight, and an Oregon Duck who showed too much. Finally, the week was capped off by a classic grudge match between arch rivals in the Sunshine State. Here are the top headlines from week one:
BLOUNT FORCE TRAUMA: Oregon running back LaGarrette Blount was frustrated all night by the Boise State defense and as a result was a little ill-tempered when Bronco defensive end Byron Hout bumped him at the end of the game with a taunting gesture as well as words. Blount then delivered a straight right hand that dropped Hout. What was a disappointing loss in the season-opener turned into an ugly display as a result, embarrassing both Blount and the Oregon program. The Ducks decided to suspend Blount from the team for the remainder of the year, thus ending his career in Eugene. While I certainly don't condone Blount's violent action and the tirade as he was escorted off the field, Hout is not without blame as his lack of sportsmanship certainly fueled the fire.
NOT YOUR AVERAGE MID-MAJOR:While the WAC and Boise State started things off with a big win over a solid Pac-10 opponent, it was nothing compared to BYU representing the Mountain West and earning the huge upset over third-ranked Oklahoma. We already knew that OU had some question marks along the offensive line and those materialized in the game, as Heisman winner Sam Bradford left in the second quarter after being driven into the turf in Arlington. It's not as if Bradford was lighting up BYU before that, but without him, the Sooners were a rudderless ship on offense and unable to get the kind of production and efficiency that they are used to. The result was a stunning loss, all but ending OU's national title hopes. BYU gets Florida State later this month and will play a couple more probable ranked foes in-conference in TCU and Utah during the second half of the season. It may get real interesting in terms of the BCS should the Cougars run the table.
SUPERPOWER STRUGGLES: Third-ranked Oklahoma certainly could blame its upset loss on the injury that will sideline Bradford for the next couple of weeks. Can the Sooners survive without Bradford under center?
The Ducks decided to suspend LaGarrette Blount from the team for the remainder of the year, thus ending his career in Eugene.|
-Seventh-ranked Virginia Tech stood strong for three quarters against fifth- ranked Alabama, before getting worn down by the Tide's size and overall team speed and likewise, 13th-ranked Georgia simply couldn't get past a superior Oklahoma State team.
-Sixth-ranked Ohio State may have gotten a victory this past weekend, but the Buckeyes may have the most question marks, as they needed an interception return on a two-point conversion late to earn the win over Navy. Jim Tressel will need answers in a hurry if they Buckeyes are to avoid a second straight rout at the hands of the Trojans.
IRISH EYES ARE SMILING: Charlie Weis is certainly on the hot seat in South Bend, but he may be feeling a bit more comfortable in that chair, as the Irish looked sharp on both sides of the ball in the season-opening shutout of Nevada (35-0), marking the team's first shutout since 2002. Quarterback Jimmy Clausen was nearly flawless in his 2009 debut, completing 15-of-18 passes, for a whopping 315 yards and four TDs, with no interceptions. The defense did its part as well, forcing the Wolf Pack into three turnovers and allowing a mere 154 passing yards. Of course, it is a "what have you done for me lately" mentality in South Bend, so any good feeling could disappear in a hurry if the Irish don't get the job done against Michigan in Ann Arbor this weekend.
PLAYERS OF THE WEEK: Wideout Michael Floyd had a huge game for Notre Dame, catching just four balls, but they went for 189 yards, with three TDs. While Clausen was impressive, there were other QBs across the country with impressive debuts as well.
-UAB's Joe Webb was a one-man wrecking crew in a win over Rice, throwing for 221 yards on 12-of-15 passing, while adding an eye-popping 194 yards on the ground, with two touchdowns.
-Penn State's Darryl Clark went into this season with a completely new receiving corps, but that didn't prevent him from throwing for 353 yards and three TDs against Akron.
-Houston's Case Keenum got off to a fast start as well, completing 23-of-30 passes, for 359 yards and four scores in a rout of Northwestern State.
-Miami's Jacory Harris threw for a career-high 396 yards in leading the Hurricanes to a rousing victory over Florida State, in just his third career start.
-Running backs who hit the ground running (literally) include USC's Joe McKnight, who averaged over 10 yards per carry against San Jose State. McKnight amassed 145 yards and two TDs, on just 14 carries, the most impressive of which was a 54-yard scamper in the third quarter.
-Purdue's Ralph Bolden abused Toledo to the tune of 234 yards and two TDs.
-Finally, it may not have shown in terms of stats, but the fact that Alabama's Brandon Deaderick played against Virginia Tech after being shot in the arm in a robbery attempt just a few days prior, has to land the big defensive end on this list.
SNEAK PEEK: There isn't a college football fan anywhere in the nation that won't be glued to the television Saturday night, when the USC Trojans and Ohio State Buckeyes take the field in Columbus. That same demographic will also be checking out Notre Dame at Michigan, as half will want to see if Notre Dame is as good as it looked in week one, while the other half hope the Irish aren't.