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The College Football Report: Creampuffery and Coach Smirk

A Note To The CFR Faithful
Some of our farthest-flung readers (hello, Anchorage!) may suffer from bouts of seasonal depression each winter. We can sympathize. The College Football Report has a patent pending on a set of 3-D goggles permanently tuned to ESPN Classic for those long summer months.

Thus, please understand if we need to check the schedule before making any commitments each autumn. This is college football season.

Week One: We Labor On Your Behalf
We hope everyone enjoyed a safe and happy holiday weekend. While most of you labored around the house, in the yard or over a hot grill, we stayed on top of the first weekend on the gridiron. After enduring many long months of lesser sports like hockey (despite our excitement for the Blackhawks) and baseball (a game we appreciate more for its beer-garden-like setting than on-field "action"), last Thursday night found us riveted to the TV for the kickoff of the 2010 college football season.

What We Got Wrong In Our Preseason Special, or, Why We Fired Doris the Fact-Checker

* North Carolina suspended 13 - not 12, as we stated - players for the opener at Louisiana State on Saturday. The total number of games to be missed due to the two-part ongoing investigation (by the NCAA for improper benefits from agents and the school for academic misconduct) has yet to be determined, but it is considered the largest number of suspensions on one team in athletic department history.

* A.J. Green has yet to catch a pass from Georgia QB Aaron Murray. The tentacles of the Improper Benefits monster wrapped around Green in the offseason, prompting Mark Richt to hold out the wide receiver for the Bulldogs' opening game (read: blowout) against Louisiana-Lafayette. Depending on the length of his suspension, we may have to reconsider our position regarding Georgia's chances in the SEC East.

* Rice did not play at Texas - the game took place at Reliant Stadium, home of the Houston Texans.

* The 2010 BCS Championship game will be played in Glendale, AZ not Pasadena, CA.

* Boise State pulled off an impressive comeback victory (in hostile territory, no less) over Virginia Tech, shooting a hole in our projections about the contenders from non-BCS conferences. But we have a long way to go.

What We Got Right, Although In Our Defense Most of Our Projections Were Long-Term So This List Might Grow Over Time

* Louisville lost to Kentucky again, although neither team looked impressive.

* We have a long way to go yet, but the Big East didn't get off to a fast start: the conference posted a 4-4 record (0-1 vs. Top 25) in the first week.

* In related news, we should have taken the "under" on our prediction about Pitt dropping out of the Top 25 by September 26. The Panthers and UNC Tarheels both fell out of the polls after Week One.

This season, we will do our best to recap the Top 25 action and notable other games. We would prefer to run down the ranked teams in order . . . but for some perverse reason, nearly every CFB scoreboard website lists the games in chronological order. What the hell? Why don't we remember this issue from last year? Like it or not, we need to glance at a list of results and the web offers the most practical option. We don't have the patience to fight it unless one of our loyal readers can suggest an alternative on the Internets.

Recapping Week One

Thursday, September 2

Marshall 7 @ #2 Ohio State 45 (-28)
What was supposed to happen:
The Buckeyes, with Heisman candidate Terrelle Pryor, expected a tune-up leading up to this weekend's clash against the Miami Hurricanes.
What actually happened:
The Thundering Herd rolled over and threw in an oil change, tire rotation, and topped off the fluids for good measure. The Buckeyes stood apart from several other Top 10 teams (see below) by easily covering an enormous number.

Florida A&M 0 @ #13 Miami (FL) 45 (n/a)
What was supposed to happen:
The first reader to identify (without looking) Florida A&M's mascot and hometown will be treated to a free adult beverage at Wicker Park's very own Beachwood Inn this Friday night. No cheating!

#14 Southern Cal 49 (-21) @ Hawaii 36
What was supposed to happen:
The Kiffin family, starring HC Lane Kiffin and his D-coordinator dad Monte, took their act on the road again (Tennessee fans will get the joke) . . . but to play a football game this time rather than pick up a paycheck.
What actually happened:
The CFR called for Coach Smirk to motivate his Trojans to a blowout, the USC defense looked to be suffering from the aftereffects of one too many hula dances. Then again, Southern Cal saw four linebackers from the '09 squad drafted by the NFL. Toss in the departure of S Taylor Mays (#49 overall in '09 draft) and we shouldn't be too surprised about the struggles on defense.

#15 Pittsburgh 24 @ Utah 27 (-3)
What was supposed to happen:
Given the point spread in this one, we weren't alone in doubting the Panthers.
What actually happened:
Look, the Utes are good. Coming off a 10-win season including a W over Cal in the Poinsettia Bowl, Coach Wittingham has a Top 25 team (#20 this week) on his hands. As for Pitt . . . well, 5'8" sparkplug RB Dion Lewis can't do everything.

Saturday, September 4

San Jose State 3 @ #1 Alabama 48 (-39.5)
What was supposed to happen:
We think SJSU should file a petition with the NCAA to rename the school South San Jose State University. San Jose, we ask you - why not maximize your Directional Creampuff potential? We think you've earned it.
What actually happened:
The Spartans slipped in a field goal in the first quarter and Bama reacted like a berserk pachyderm, reeling off straight 34 straight points. Hannibal, eat your heart out. Wait, no, not that Hannibal - the other one . . . you know, the one with all the elephants.

Miami (OH) 12 @ #4 Florida 34 (-38)
What was supposed to happen:
The nation (well, at least Gainesville residents) eagerly awaited the debut of Florida's new starting QB John Brantley.
What actually happened:
Sales of antacids spiked in Florida over the weekend as the RedHawks (or is it RedBirds? Damn it, somebody rehire Doris) hung around through the third quarter. Starting the 4th leading by only 12 points against a MAC team was not part of the post-Tim Tebow plan.

#5 Texas 34 (-31) @ Rice 17 at Houston, TX
What was supposed to happen:
The Vegas oddsmakers forgot that QB Colt McCoy now plays (read: stands on the sidelines) on Sundays and that HC Mack Brown installed a new offensive scheme during the offseason.
What actually happened:
We forgot as well. Luckily, we were in good company. But with seven starters back for the UT defense, this game should not have been even close. Let's chalk this Longhorns performance up to offseason rust until we have more data.

#24 Oregon State 21 @ #6 TCU 30 (-13.5) at Arlington, TX
What was supposed to happen:
After yielding just 12.8 points per game and 80.2 yards rushing in 2009, most expected the Beavers to struggle in this one.
What actually happened:
While this wasn't the sharpest game played on Saturday (given the two interceptions by TCU QB Dalton and the safety given up by OSU late in the fourth) both teams showed potential. For Oregon State, a Pac-10 title is still possible while TCU remains in the hunt for at least a BCS at-large berth.

Utah State 24 @ #7 Oklahoma 31 (-34.5)
What was supposed to happen:
You might say the experts gave the edge to the Sooners.
What actually happened:
A late interception saved Oklahoma from a major shock by the Aggies. Under "What We Got Wrong" we failed to list our prediction about Big 12 teams against nonconference opponents. Toss in the squeaker by Texas Tech (-13) over SMU and the Big 12 hasn't gotten off to a raring start.

Western Kentucky 10 @ #8 Nebraska 49 (-39.5)
What was supposed to happen:
See above.
What actually happened:
If you played this game, we hope you bought the hook. Otherwise, consider yourself snaked.

Eastern Illinois 7 @ #9 Iowa 37 (n/a)
We would like to commend Eastern Illinois of the FCS Ohio Valley Conference for their appropriately Creampuffish performance. Thank you, Panthers.

New Mexico 0 @ #11 Oregon 72 (-36)
What was supposed to happen:
Nobody thought the Lobos had much of a chance.
What actually happened:
Whatever shot New Mexico had evaporated when a basketball game broke out. Keeping up with the Ducks can be tough, but when you're wearing cleats on the hardwood? Forget it. Maybe UNM should have attempted a few more three-pointers.

#12 Wisconsin 41 (-21) at UNLV 21
What was supposed to happen:
The Badgers like to schedule a road trip to somewhere sunny each season. UW last visited UNLV in 2007 and last year, Bucky & Co. traveled to Hawaii - in early December, no less. Good timing! And who can forget the '08 season that saw the Badgers travel down to Orlando . . . oh, wait. That was for the Champs Sports Bowl in which FSU shelled UW by 29 points. Nevermind.
What actually happened:
Why can't we put action on the over/under for sunburns in a game like this? The announced attendance at Sam Boyd Stadium on Saturday night was 31,107. The stadium lists a maximum capacity of 36,800. Even without knowing the actual attendance, we could have guessed that roughly ten percent of the seats would go empty. (Not that many UW fans travel to Vegas, and none of the locals care about UNLV football.) That puts us at 33,120 and by assuming a two-thirds majority of Badger fans - a notably pasty crowd that enjoys all-day tailgating - we could put the sunburn potential at roughly 22,000. Factor in Vegas and the 11PM Eastern kickoff time, and let's assume about half of the potential victims avoided the sun. There, we just pegged the Sunburn Over/Under at 11,000 fans. Now, we just need Heather Cox to prowl the stands and get us an estimate.

South Carolina State 10 @ #16 Georgia Tech 41 (n/a)
South Carolina State plays in the MEAC along with fellow Directional Creampuff Florida A&M.

Tennessee Tech 3 @ #17 Arkansas 44 (n/a)
The Tennessee Tech "Golden Eagles" play in the OVC where they will vie with the likes of Eastern Illinois for Creampuff Conference supremacy.

#21 LSU 30 (-7.5) @ North Carolina 24 at Atlanta, GA
What was supposed to happen?
UNC suspended so guys from the team, even some of the waterboys wound up on the practice squad. So LSU walks through this one in laugher, right?
What actually happened?
Never, ever trust the Vegas line in this situation. The underdog will play their heart out, the favorites will come out flat, and you will end up wondering what happened to your hard-earned money. (Plus the hook!)

Youngstown State 14 @ #19 Penn State 44 (n/a)
How can we make a decision about PSU-Bama on Saturday night based on Week One?

Samford 6 @ #20 Florida State 59
We know first year HC Jimbo Fischer was eager to make a good impression but . . . sheesh.

Arkansas State 26 @ #22 Auburn 52 (-31)
What was supposed to happen?
We don't quite understand why Vegas posted a line for this game and not several of the other Directional Creampuff affairs.
What actually happened?
Well, the final score helps us understand why . . . because the Arkansas State . . . (uh, Doris?) . . . Red Wolves don't screw around, that's why!

Louisiana-Lafayette 7 @ #23 Georgia 55 (-29.5)
What was supposed to happen?
A.J. Green or no, the Bulldogs had this game in the bag.
What actually happened?
By the looks of it, I'd say Georgia won. And covered, to boot.

Coastal Carolina 0 @ #25 West Virginia 31 (n/a)
The ESPN Top 25 scoreboard can't even bother to spell out "Coastal." No, it's just "Coast Carolina" which really threw us here at the CFR. We know all about Coastal Carolina, but Coast Carolina? Who is that?

Monday, September 6

#3 Boise State 33 at #10 Virginia Tech 30 (-1) at Landover, MD
What was supposed to happen?
Depends on who you ask. You could sense the national media getting caught up in this story over the past month or two, with some commentators all but awarding Boise a spot in the BCS title game with a win while others called for the Broncos to go down.
What actually happened?
We may have gotten caught up in the anti-Boise backlash but our unofficial pick for the Hokies to win wasn't too far off: with less than two minutes remaining, Va Tech led 30-26. Mental mistakes and poor special teams play killed Frank Beamer all night, and the last two minutes served as a good example why: the Hokies gave up a 25 yard punt return and committed a costly 13 yard personal foul. And Boise QB Kellen Moore capitalized by completing three of four passes for 43 yards and the winning touchdown. Game over.

Standings After Week One
The CFR Staff: 1-1
The Sports Seal: 1-2
The Beachwood Bankroll: $9,495 (of $10,000)

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Mike "Dr. Dude" Luce brings you The College Football Report in this space twice a week, with the generous assistance of the Beachwood Sports Seal. They both welcome your comments.

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