I.) Note to BCS schools: Don’t schedule the MAC in week one
Yes, only the Ohio Bobcats were able to complete the upset of a BCS team in defeating Penn State 24-14, but around the country the MAC gave major conference teams a run for their money. Northern Illinois lost to Iowa by only one point, Bowling Green had Florida tied in the 3rd quarter, Buffalo (yes, Buffalo) was very much in the game into the 2nd quarter with Georgia, and it took Illinois into the 4th quarter to defeat Western Michigan. MAC teams have experience playing the big boys and they do not roll over. BCS programs looking for a glorified scrimmage to notch their first victory of the season should take a page out of Florida State’s book and play Murray State of the Ohio Valley Conference (formerly Division II). The Seminoles made easy work of the Racers in a 69-3 rout.
II.) Why doesn’t everybody coach like Nick Saban?
People give many different reasons why Nick Saban is a great coach: top recruiter, excellent talent developer, master motivator, etc. But to me, the best thing Nick Saban does became even more clear to me after watching Alabama’s 41-14 drubbing of Michigan: he takes away what the other team does the best. How simple is that? In the case of this particular game it was taking away Michigan quarterback Denard Robinson’s ability to create with his legs. Robinson, whose best weapon is his running ability, faced an Alabama defense that was disciplined in its rush lanes, applying pressure without opening lanes for Robinson to scramble. The Tide forced Robinson to become a player he is not. He ended up 11 of 26 passing for 200 yards, 2 INTs, and most importantly, did not (or more accurately, could not) attempt to run the ball until the end of the first half. Saban eliminated Michigan’s best weapon and in my opinion also eliminated Denard Robinson from the Heisman picture.
III.) Notre Dame looks promising.
I know, I’m a Notre Dame alum but I am far from an Irish fanboy. I guess part of my happiness from Notre Dame’s 50-10 beating of Navy is that they did it in a way Notre Dame hasn’t done for a long time. Where past squads have approached a game like this with a complex offensive scheme, the Irish on Saturday decided from the start of the game that they were just going to impose their will on the physically less-gifted Navy team by running the ball over and over. Nothing fancy, just pounding the run game on their way to 293 yards and 5 rushing TDs. That’s the Notre Dame I grew up watching and I’m happy to see it again.
IV.) Urban Meyer and Ohio State shine
When I was an 18-year-old high school senior deciding which college I wanted to attend, then Notre Dame wide receiver coach Urban Meyer walked into my house. When he left a short while later, there was no question that I was going to play for the Irish and that I wanted to be a part of a program with a coach like that. Meyer’s ability to be a leader that players will run through walls for was as apparent then as it is now. His message to his team before its opening game versus the Miami Redhawks was simple: “Fight.” Well, fight they did. Quarterback Braxton Miller and company played like a team that didn’t just want to win, they wanted to physically dominate the opposing team. As this mindset becomes pervasive throughout the OSU program, they will play for a national championship, in my opinion, within the next three years. Write it down.
V.) Best weapon in college football: Oregon’s De’Anthony Thomas
When I turned on the Oregon/Arkansas State game late Saturday, I was impressed that they were on top 50-3. Then I realized that it was only the second quarter! Oregon went on to win the game 57-34, but the real story was the Ducks’ sophomore multipurpose threat De’Anthony Thomas and his 125 all-purpose yards and three TDs – on just eight touches! He caught four passes (two for scores), ran the ball three times (including one for a TD) and also returned a punt 6 yards. Over 15 yards gained on average each time he touched the ball. This kid is absolutely amazing in his raw talent and explosiveness. As a guy who has never in his life cared about Oregon Duck football, I will tune in to future Oregon games just to watch Thomas play because he is that electrifying.
– Rocky Boiman
Rocky Boiman is an analyst for Dial Global’s coverage of NCAA Football. Each week in “Rocky’s V,” the former Notre Dame captain and Super Bowl champion writes about five topics that have captured his interest from around college football. You can also follow Rocky on Twitter.