The first week of the 2012 college football season is almost in the books with just a handful of games left tonight and Monday. A few things were learned and some major question marks remain.
First and foremost we found out that Alabama is again the real deal. Michigan is probably not the best of the BIG X (MSU, Wisconsin or perhaps OSU are better), but the Tide rolled with ease over a pretty good football team none the less.
Did we learn anything about USC or LSU in week one? Probably not a lot. LSU, as usual, has some obvious chinks in the armor and even North Texas exposed some of them. Not so sure about USC. They are probably the real deal and will be in the hunt at he end.
Did the Irish beatdown of the Naval Academy show us much? Perhaps. Could it be that Notre Dame will be a top 15 team before all is said and done. This may be the year.
A few teams were embarrassed by IAA squads in the opener although nothing that would be considered stunning. Pittsburgh may be a joke and Memphis looks like they are starting just another year of Tiger football. I was going to say Houston, but Texas State is in their first year of D1 ball. Still, the Cougars have already shown just how far they have fallen. Likely going to be a long year for both Houston D1 football schools.
Which conference looks strongest with week one almost done. Hard to say. The SEC may (or may not) have the best team in the land, but they are likely again to prove to be hands down the best league. Some SEC teams extend their scrimmage time with IAA opponents and that does not give a clear picture of just how good a team is. That is not just a SEC thing though. Just look at Oklahoma State and KSU. The PAC 12 (10), with one (perhaps two) notable exceptions looks pretty weak. The Big Ten looks to be the Big Ten. There may some improvement in the ACC, with two or three teams to be taken seriously (FSU and Clemson). The Big East will remain the weak sister of the BCS leagues. It has a lot more in common with CUSA than any of the other BCS conferences.
It does not look like there will be another BCS buster team this year. Boise State may already be out of that particular picture with their opening loss to a good MSU team. The Broncos are in rebuild mode this season and will probably lose two or three. Houston and Tulsa are already done in that regard and TCU has moved into the "big time". I don't see anyone else really unless June Jones' group is for real. We will learn a bit more about them tonight when SMU squares off with Baylor. BYU a BCS buster? No. I don't see any MAC, WAC or SBC schools making the jump into BCS buster material. Shame.
I learned the other night that USC, Notre Dame, and UCLA are the only D1 schools that have not, at any time, scheduled a IAA opponent. I do not like any of these teams but have to give them props here. Placing a IAA school on the schedule kind of cheapens the game frankly. It proves nothing when the "big time" school goes to town and runs up the score. I (almost) always root for the lower division squad when they play a major college team. Once in a great while there is a huge embarrassment that causes severe damage to the big time program's season. That is great fun.
Looking forward to a fun season.