Welcome to my weekly installment of Dimes and Duds. Each Monday I will give my take on what to make of the past college football weekend. It will include my Dimes (stellar performances) and Duds (uh....not so special performances). Consider is Dalby's Dimes and Duds from the weekend. Enjoy!
1. Ranked Road Teams Struggle.....Oh wait.
In what was the pre-weekend theme, numerous highly-touted teams were going on the road for the first time. How were these teams going to react? Would new quarterbacks be able to step in and grab tough road victories in hostile environments?
Well despite what many thought, all those question marks passed with flying colors. No. 8 Nebraska pummeled Washington infront of what seemed like an even distribution of fans at Husky Stadium. Taylor Martinez did about as good a job as you can in your first start on the road. He accounted for 137 yards on the ground and 150 more through the air. Accompanying him in the backfield, Roy Helu Jr (110 yards) and Rex Burkhead (104 yards) kinf of did their part too. Folks, if Nebraska's three headed monster in the backfield keeps performing like this it's scary to think of the possibilities of this season. Washington scored 21 points, ending Nebraska's streak of 10 straight games allowing 20 or less points. But let's be real, this Washington team did not "score" 21 points on this defense. Heisman hopeful and #1 pick Jake Locker looked more like a chihuahua than a husky yesterday. I think with that performance we can put the Heisman talk to bed.
Other teams heading from the confines of home were Alabama, Texas, Arkansas, and Florida. All these teams won, and with exception of Arkansas who blew a 14 point lead with 10 minutes to play before taking it in overtime, and won pretty easily. The Alabama game was over on Mark Ingram's first carry that went for 40 yards on an awful Duke defense. Tennessee got to within seven of Florida, but never really stood much of a chance. Texas also handled a conference foe in Texas Tech despite Garrett Gilbert throwing three picks.
All in all, the weekend of trap games turned out to be a phony. Not a bad thing if you're a Husker fan.
2. Arizona's Big Win Over Iowa
The Wildcats shocked me, that's for sure. Arizona mustered up enough to take down the mighty Haweyes late Saturday night. Arizona jumped out to a big lead via special teams and defense (big plus for the D Line that allowed only 29 yards rushing). However, as most well-coached teams do, KIrk Ferentz and Iowa slowly came back to eventually tie the game in the fourth quarter.
Arizona quarterback Nick Foles answered with an impressive 72 yard drive sealing the victory for the Wildcats. Kudos to Arizona for stepping up (and even showing up) at home against a highly-ranked opponent. Something we didn't see very much of this weekend. The loss hurts Iowa's thoughts of a National Championship, but does nothing to hurt thier dreams of a Big Ten title. The schedule sets up nicely for them down the road, getting Penn State, Wisconsin, Michigan State and Ohio State all at home.
3. Mark Dantonio
WOW. That's literally all I could say when watching the end of the Michigan State game. Guess that new contract Mark Dantonio signed was really worth every penny. In an absolutely gutsy, Tom Osborne-1984 Orange Bowl-esk maneuver, the Michigan State head coach shocked the entire college football world and especially those fans sitting in South Bend. On a 4th and forever in overtime he sent out the field goal unit for the apparent attempt at tying the game.
Then it happened...holder Aaron Bates took the snap, rolling out to the right and hitting a wide open Charlie Gantt who rumbled in for the touchdown. Sparty got an emotional victory....possibly too emotional. After the game, around midnight, Mark Dantonio suffered a heart attack. He is resting comfortably now. Hopefully he will make a full recovery and make it back to the sidelines sooner than later.
1. Jekyll and Hyde Teams
Granted some of these teams won, it's almost more dissapointing because it shows their true potential. Teams like Michigan and Colorado. Then there are Turner Gill's Jayhawks. Ay yay yi. How can you lose to an FCS school one week, look great against the defending ACC champs the next, then get blown up by a mediocre Southern Miss squad. The offense is flat out anemic. They can't seem to put together anything consistent and it has to be driving former Husker Turner Gill up the wall.
Then there's Meeeeeeeechigan. After a brillant performance against rival Notre Dame....a performance that led many around the country, including myself, think that the real Wolverines were back on the map....they go and do what?!?! Need a recovered onside kick to slip away from UMass. The Minutemen pushed the Maize and Blue to the edge. I then needed to analyze the whole resume. Maybe Rich Rodriguez's team isn't all the good. I mean really, they beat a UCONN team that just got dismantled by Temple (Note: Al Golden has done a PHENOMENAL job turning that program around....a bowl game last year and 3-0 to start this season), Notre Dame who let's face it, just isn't worth anything, and UMass. Expect this team to struggle during the Big Ten slate, and I mean struggle to the point Rich Rod is history.
2. Florida's Offense
Ya, I was like everyone else who thought the first weekend woes were just due to rust and the Gators would shake that off and show that they're the most athletic team everytime the step on the field soon after. Well they may be athletic, but they sure as heck aren't showing it on one side of the ball. The defense has been stellar allowing a touch over two touchdowns a game. John Brantley and Co. however, ouch.
Brantley's longest pass accounted for....ahem 25 yards. And I thought Tim Tebow was a medicore passer. I heard a stat on TV Saturday that stated two of Jeff Demps runs this season have accounted for approx. 35% of the Gator offense. Huh? Is that serious? Yes, and so is this: The Gators better their act together offensively fast, or Urban Meyer is looking at a 3 to 4 loss squad in Gainesville.
3. The ACC.....again
Well they managed to string a couple wins together this weekend. But can a conference look more unimpressive given the allotted talent pool in the region. Despite Florida State and NC State, this weekend was another one to forget. Wake Forest was blown out, Maryland lost to West Virginia handily and Virginia Tech (gasp) struggled to take care of East Carolina (They were losing at halftime).
What more than losing to an FCS team at home could get your head on straight for the next weekend. Bud Foster and the boys just don't have it this year and that will be evident when they begin facing better offenses. Clemson managed to blow a 17 point lead, however that doesn't surprise me in the least. Answer this: Is there another team in the country garnering more hype without doing anything than Clemson? If so, it's hard-pressed to find. I won't even mention Duke's high school-like performance against Alabama.