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Opening CFB Weekend Thoughts, 8/31/2014

Some quick thoughts about the opening college football weekend.



  • I've done a lot of busting on the MAC over the years, and certainly, the dregs of that conference wouldn't have much of  a chance winning a Patriot League title, let alone a national title playoff consisting of teams like Alabama and USC. 
  • But the top teams in the MAC have always had some great players in there, and Toledo and Ball State's skill players put in great performances against future Lehigh opponents New Hampshire and Colgate respectively.  Ball Sate WR Kelvin Mabon (11 catches, 110 yards, 1 TD) and Toledo QB Phillip Ely (24/34 passing 337 yards, 4 TDs) are really great players that may have the NFL in their futures, and they showcased it yesterday.
  • One problem with FCS vs. FBS matchups is: what, ultimately, do you learn from the results?  Colgate, James Madison, and New Hampshire lost to FBS teams in differing fashions.  Is Maryland a Big 10 championship-caliber team?  Can Ball State and Toledo make one of the big bowls?  Is New Hampshire terrible?  Was that late touchdown by Colgate RB John Travellin a glimpse at the next great Raider running back?  We learned nothing of the sort - we learned instead that mid- to upper- FBS teams, on the whole, are better than CAA and Patriot League teams, and that fact will have zero bearing on the title races.
  • Overall it wasn't a great day to be a CAA team last weekend - with one notable exception.  Two NEC teams upset CAA teams that were in the playoffs the last two years - Bryant over Stony Brook, and Central Connecticut State over Towson.  The term "Blue Hen"-ed was coined when Pitt destroyed Delaware 62-0, and JMU, Elon, and William & Mary all lost in lopsided fashion to the big boys.  Even Maine struggled against Norfolk State, squeaking a 10-6 win.
  • JMU QB Vad Lee had a rough day against Maryland by any definition - 16/37 passing, 2 INTs.  It's probably a very safe bet to say that he'll play better against Lehigh next weekend - but how much better?
  • App State/Michigan, Part II, wasn't much of a sequel.  52-14.
  • Delaware should probably not try to schedule teams where they've signed transfer QBs.  Maybe that's why they were "Blue Hen"-ed by Pitt.
  • Penn State won a pretty big game in Dublin, a 26-24 thriller that probably eliminated UCF from any hope of making the College Football Playoff.  UCF is a very good G5 team, and this might indicate that Penn State will make some noise in the Big 10.
  • I thought Bucknell would roll over VMI in their opener, but it ended up being a surprising 42-38 shootout that was only settled when WR Josh Brake returned a punt 62 yards for a TD.  Even more interesting was that VMI torched Bucknell through the air to the tune of 300 yards, and there was only one turnover all game.
  • Poor Georgetown couldn't muster a win in their opener, struggling on offense in a 21-3 defeat.  Unfortunately, this may be a recurring theme this year with the Hoyas.
  • Holy Cross had the game won, up 13-7 with under 2 minutes remaining.  Then RB Gabe Guild was hit hard, and coughed up the ball, and Albany LB Neil Morrison scooped the ball - and ran 79 yards to get the game-winning touchdown for Albany, 14-13.  (About 45 seconds in the below video.)  It's hard to imagine a more gut-wrenching way to lose a football game.  It was also a rare win for the CAA on this opening weekend.
  • On Friday, Villanova came agonizingly close to upsetting Syracuse, having a shot to win before overtime but their kicker missed the potential game-winning field goal.  In the second OT, head coach Andy Talley scored a touchdown, and went for a potential 2 point conversion to go for the win.  The result, um, was not so good.

  • Monmouth gave up a 98 yard kickoff return for a touchdown against Delaware State, but recovered in time to defeat the Hornets 52-21.  The Jersey Hawks racked up more than 30 first downs and over 500 yards of offense, including 152 yards rushing by RB K.B. Asante.

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