Alabama quarterback AJ McCarron (10) pumps his fist after a touchdown during the first half of an NCAA college football game against the Michigan at Cowboys Stadium in Arlington, Texas, Saturday, Sept. 1, 2012. (AP Photo/LM Otero)Photo by Associated Press /Chattanooga Times Free Press.
Want to know how big the start of college football is? They give us a holiday on Monday to recover. In fact, they know how much effort and energy goes into the opening weekend, so they even call the holiday Labor Day. Those folks think of everything.
For some, this opening Saturday was a Labor of Love. For others — including the Auburn defense, which looks SOOOOOO cute when they try to tackle — it was simply a Labor.
So it goes.
Since it's a holiday (well, newspaper folks are exempt apparently), the 5-at-10 will be a quick top five. We will have more Tuesday, but feel free to leave your biggest impression from the opening weekend. Here's our top 5 from the opening weekend so tough, awesome, exhausting and exhilarating, they gave us an extra day to regroup.
1) Alabama is N-A-S-T-Y. Period. Denard Robinson looked overmatched. Michigan was the No. 8 team in the country and Alabama made them look like Eastern Michigan. And how big were those headlights that sucked Michigan coach Brady Hoke into a tractor beam so strong he had one look — the "Whoa, that was a good play... wish he was on our team" look — that seemed to define all of Saturday night. And as bad as the 41-14 final was, it was a bigger butt-whippin' than the score portrayed.
2) We've talked for at least a month about how big the opener was for Tennessee. And the Vols delivered. Did they play perfectly or even great? No, but that's not what counts. This team needed a win for a slew of reasons, and they delivered. That means Friday was a success. Period. Well, unless you are grading Derek Dooley's outfit, which was somewhere between athletic jammy-jams and/or a possible George Costanza athletic lounge wear. That said, Cordarrelle Patterson made the best Tennessee debut this side of Grand Ole Opry.
3) The 5-at-10's Fab Four plus 1 picks went 3-2. Not great, not bad, but pretty stout considering we started 0-2 with South Carolina and Georgia failing to cover out of the gate. The two things we voiced most consistently from the preseason — Alabama being as strong as ever and West Virginia having arguably the nation's best offense — looked pretty spot-on.
4) We still believe the Mocs are going to challenge for a playoff spot. South Florida's speed, especially defensively, was too much, and that's nothing of which to be overly concerned. UTC trailed 7-3 and scored late in the first half to make it 21-10. The Bulls used their starters for the majority of the game, and that's something. It does greatly highlight the need for success Saturday at Jacksonville State. It will be interesting to see how long the quarterback shuffle lasts and how it shakes down. Interesting times indeed.
5) We had two birthday parties this weekend at the 5-at-10 compound — a Beatles-themed shindig that included "Back in the U.S.S.R-ti-choke dip," "Let it Be-L-T dip" and a main course of "Eleanor Ribs-by" from Sticky Fingers and a Fire Fighters-themed party for our soon-to-be 5-year-old that included a real fire truck. Good times all around. We say that to cover the fact that we did not watch as much college football this weekend as we thought we might. Coupled with the fact that we caught the UT-NC State game on speed rewatch after the Baylor game Friday night/Saturday morning around 2 a.m., we are interested in your thoughts from week 1.
And enjoy the holiday.
Jay was named the Sports Editor of the Times Free Press in 2003 and started with the newspaper in May 2002 as the Deputy Sports Editor. He was born and raised in Smyrna, Ga., and graduated from Auburn University before starting his newspaper career in 1997 with the Newnan (Ga.) Times Herald. Stops in Clayton and Henry counties in Georgia and two years as the Sports Editor of the Marietta (Ga.) Daily Journal preceded Jay’s ...