No one gets more excited about stocks rising and falling than Jim Cramer. We share his excitement except ours is for the rising and falling stocks of college football teams. This weekend finally put an end to the endless speculation and provided us with a glimpse of what the football season may hold.
"Boise State is a Canard! Sell it and buy some Notre Dame!"
Notre Dame: Easily the most impressive thing of the long football weekend was watching Notre Dame dismantle Pitt. Pitt shouldn't be that bad on defense. For all the problems Wanstedt had as a head coach in the pros, his defenses were always strong. Weis and company shredded them with balanced and creative play-calling that kept them off guard and made Notre Dame look like Louisville from last season. We'll find out next week if Notre Dame is for real... or Pitt is that bad.
Arizona State: Yes, it was against a team who got kicked out of the Big East for not being competitive enough, but it was an impressive win for the Sun Devils. They put up points in every quarter and both the passing and running games looked solid. Now, with the LSU game being moved to Tempe, they have a great opportunity to put themselves into the BCS mix (even if they get trounced by USC).
Georgia: The biggest questions for Georgia in the offseason were whether they could replace the graduating defensive talent and how would the much ballyhooed D.J. Shockley play now that he is getting his chance. Well, so far so good for the Bulldogs. Shockley looked like the real deal as he demonstrated that he could hurt you with his arm and his legs. As for the defense, they stiffled Boise State's vaunted offense from start to finish.(As opposed to FSU linebacker Ernie Sims, who's just good at hurting ladies with his hands. --ed UGA was pleased.
UCF: True they lost their 16th game in a row, but this time it was different. They should have been outmatched by South Carolina's talent and it looked like they would be blown off the field early on. However, this years Knights are finally coming around to O'Leary's ways and kept fighting, making it dangerously close by the fourth quarter. What was most impressive about their game was how they dominated the trenches physically. If they keep that up, I look for them to improve on last season. (Just kidding--how could they not? But they might make a run at the Conference USA title playing that way.)
Tennessee: Let's see. The team votes Clausen to be a captain, he was the bowl game MVP, leads the team on a hot streak... so Fulmer goes with Ainge as starter. What a mistake. Ainge looked horrible. The only reason Tennessee didn't "pull an Oklahoma" here was that Clausen bailed them out (no pun intended-liar.--ed). The defense was still solid and if Clausen becomes the starter they will be a different team, but for now I am selling my Tennessee stock.
Texas AM: This was supposed to be the breakout year for the Aggies but it got off to a tough start. Are they over-rated again? (look for my post in the coming days on this one). Clemson is not a bad team, of course, but they really needed this one if they want to make some national noise.
Boise State: Their system is still good and Hawkins can still coach, but the talent differential was exposed as they traveled to Athens to play between the hedges against a talented but rebuilding Georgia Bulldogs squad. They'll clean up in their conference against equal and lesser talent and will finish ranked fairly well, but the memory of this game will remain.
USC: Can't go any higher than the best team in the country. They did what they needed to do, even if it was against Hawaii.
Texas: See above...except they're number 2.
Iowa: They put on a great show... but it was against the junior varsity squad of Ball State so it is kind of meaningless. They still have a great coach and a great backfield.
LATE EDITION ADDS
VANDY! Only half kidding here, since Wake's one of the spunkiest bottom-dwellers around, but Jay Cutler has testes--one, two, three?--enough to win close games for them while taking hits that would knock the first-grade math out of most quarterbacks. We'll put 'em on a buy as congrats for winning their first opener in eight years.
Georgia Tech. It'll burn us like gonorrhea when they lose to Duke, but the Fisher-Price offensive plan and DC Tenuta's defensive assault make them a must buy. In a dogfight league of knee-breaking parity like the ACC, Gailey's old-biddy bingo-card play calling may work better than we ever thought.
Notre Dame Duh. Offense comes to South Bend for a rollicking year of shootouts. If they could just switch networks, we'd watch them more.
Georgia The D looked less brawny than brainy, gigging Jared Zabransky into a John Starks-like performance in the clutch of the national spotlight. The UGA offense, though could be an entirely different system at year's end. And those are the most ginormous freshman wideouts we've ever seen.
Boston College Solid, disciplined road opener across the continent against BYU gets a dark-horse ACC champ candidate off to a very auspicious start.
Oklahoma The Chuck Long watch starts two days ago.
Syracuse Orange44 says it a lot better, but this was the worst-looking offensive football team we saw this weekend by a wide margin.
Maryland Mysterious problems on the offense. Does the Fridge need a priest in College Park?
Biggies here, as is common the first week of the season:
Florida. The lack of an inside run game and continued flakiness on the special teams worry the piss out of us. Take this as a "we hold because we care", admittedly biased hold pick.
Tennessee. UAB's good, but not 17-10 good. And starting a qb controversy early ain't a good thing.
Virginia Tech. A default hold, if only because NC State looked so tough in defeat. We like Mike Imoh a lot, though, if only because he runs like one of those ruffed lizards always skipping across water on the Discovery Channel. Too bad he's not a sensitive vegan with a band who wears black glasses, a mechanic's jacket with someone else's name on the label, and listens to Death Cab for Cutie. That would be too piquante.
Mike Imoh, seen here running wind sprints.
Michigan Like a foul-mouthed trannie, Michigan at this point is offensively gifted with no visible D.