I haven't been able to watch every game, but I've made a concerted effort for you, the reader, to watch as much football as possible this weekend. And while it's only one game, that one game might say a lot about the season for many of the teams.
-First off, Oregon's defense looked as good as advertised...Granted, they were playing a Washington team that looked as bad as any BSD team I watched this weekend, but let's not take anything away from the Ducks. They fly to the ball and kind of look like swarming bees; in fact their defense reminds me a lot of the great 'Zona Desert Swarm defenses from the mid-90s. They did look small in the defensive backfield though. What it also seemed like, to me, is that Washington's O line was drastically under-prepared and undersized for a major-conference unit. I think our Boilers offensive line will be much more formidable.
Because I was flipping around, I didn't watch a whole bunch of their offense, but what I saw when they were on the field was Washington playing Pac10 defense and missing tackle after tackle.
-In a game I usually think you can all but guarantee a victory for Purdue, I'm feeling much more confident about the odds of not losing by three touchdowns versus the Victors Valiant. Turns out, reports out of Ann Arbor about confusion during camp weren't exaggerated. Their offense is really horrible. In fact, the drive that could have tied the game was little more than bone-headed mistakes by Utah and not UM putting together a charge.
I do understand Rodriguez's system is tough to learn, but they looked a half-step better than a high school offense. Their quarterbacks looked like they couldn't throw any ball except the fade and were as mobile as Kyle Orton. Honestly, I don't get why they didn't line a running back up at QB more than once and just run the ball...it couldn't have been any less productive. Michigan ended up with 21 yards rushing...versus the second-best Mountain West team?
Michigan's defense was strong, at times...but how can you blame them? They were on the field for most of the game...while Utah was given short field after short field.
-The Big Ten took it on the chin in week one, but other than Michigan, none of the losses were versus teams that weren't very good teams. My darkhorse for the BT title, MSU had the unenviable task of traveling out to Berkley for their first game. They played well, but Hoyer wasn't sound down the stretch when he needed to be perfect to get them back in the game...That kind of surprised me.
Illinois' Williams played a very good game v. Mizzou, but I think that might have been more of a product of the Tigers' porous defense than Juice's improvement. Both Illinois and Missouri don't look like world-beaters to me simply because of problems on special teams and defense respectively. In fact, Illinois reminds me a bit of a Purdue team from 7 years ago with their lack of defensive fortitude and continued mental lapses on ST.
aOSU and PSU both battered a lowly opponent the way they should have, but I don't think we learned much from either game other than the gap between BSD and CSD teams is large.
IU was unimpressive, to me, with the exception of Kellen Lewis, the running back...not the quarterback. And as I thought, IU's defense struggled at times allowing a run-first team pass for more yards than they had in the previous two seasons...in the Championship Subdivision.
-Speaking of IU, the Hoosier faithful as well as Northwestern's fanbase should be pretty ashamed of the amount of fans who were in the seats last weekend for their games. IU fans tell me they're destined for another bowl season...their second in the last 13 years...but they don't want to be there to witness it? Huh. And Northwestern fans, similarly, think they're about to witness greatness from the Mildcats (which after watching, I think they're wrong) and they managed to have just over 20,000 on hand to watch the men in purple square off against a BSD opponent. Not good.
Can't wait until next week, but I wish Purdue wasn't playing a CSD team. That said, can you blame those who schedule for doing it, especially for the first contest? The amount of people who trickle into Ross Ade next Saturday will be directly proportionate to the quality of the opponent...but while it won't be in the 20,000 to 30,000 range like a couple of our Big Ten brethren, it won't be much over 50,000 either.