In this week’s edition of the knotmove.com College Football Roundtable we take a look back at the first few weeks and talk about some of the early developments this season. What has surprised us, impressed us and disappointed us? Here is what our panel had to say. Feel free to share your opinions in the comment section as well to join the forum.
With four weeks in the books let’s do a quick progress report. Who has been most impressive to you and most disappointing to you so far this season (either individually or as a team)? Any big surprises?
Troy Hyde, Iowa Hawkeyes Examiner: The most impressive team has to be LSU so far. I can’t remember a team that has played that kind of a non-conference slate and then still has to play an SEC slate. If they run the table they deserve to be in the national championship. Even a one-loss LSU team may still get my vote over an undefeated team elsewhere. The most disappointing team so far is Notre Dame. They were a top 20 team to start the year. That was probably too high but disappointing to me nonetheless. The surprise to me is how down the Big Ten Conference is this year. Northwestern loses to Army, Minnesota loses to North Dakota State, Iowa loses to Iowa State. These are all games these programs needed to win.
Sean Jackson, Ohio State Buckeyes Examiner: LSU has been the most impressive team. They had one of the tougher schedules in September and they looked dominant in all of their games including showdowns against Oregon and West Virginia. To me they look like the most complete team.
The most disappointing team has been Notre Dame. The Fighting Irish are a very good team and should be 4-0 right now. Instead, mental mistakes cost them their first two games and almost cost them at Pittsburgh. This is a talented team but if they cannot erase the mental mistakes, they’ll never earn a chance to show how good they are.
The most surprising team has been Toledo. The Rockets are the best 1-3 team in the country. They almost beat Ohio State in the Horseshoe, they hung tough with Boise State (or as tough as a MAC school can against an elite program), and they almost won a road game against Syracuse. It’s easy to see why they are the favorites to win the MAC.
Schimri Yoyo, Big East Examiner: The most impressive team has easily been LSU and their defense. For them dominate the way they have even after all the offseason turmoil has been incredible. Florida State has been a disappointment just because I thought they might be returning to dominating the ACC this year. Clemson had other thoughts. I also have ot give a nod to B. J. Daniels and South Florida for being a pleasant surprise. I know they haven’t faced the toughest schedule yet, but they are winning games and Daniels is playing mistake-free football.
Max Price, Oregon Ducks Examiner: LSU has been by far the most impressive team to me thus far, rather easily beating Oregon, Mississippi State, and West Virginia. Their defense is ridiculous, and their offense hasn’t been lackluster at all. Florida State is a pretty clear disappointment all the way around, losing back-to-back games against ranked opponents. Clemson is a pretty clear cut surprise for me, but I’m going to go with Baylor as my top surprise thus far. Robert Griffin III has been fantastic, and they knocked off an extremely talented TCU team to start the year. They have plenty of huge tests ahead – and I don’t expect them to keep winning – but so far they’ve been far better than I assessed them in the preseason.
Jordan Caldwell, Utah Utes Examiner: Four weeks through the season and college football has definitely given us plenty of entertainment. Week in and week out there have been many surprises. My biggest surprise of the season to this point though is Illinois. They are 4-0 for the first time in over 60 years!
To this point, I have been most impressed with the Big 12 as a whole. Even with all of the conference realignment distractions, they have gone out and done their business. The conference still has 7 undefeated teams, which accounts for almost one third of the remaining unbeaten in college football. The conference as a whole is 28-2 in non-conference games. Even the SEC is only 22-5 in non-conference play. Their national title hopes may ride with Oklahoma, but from top to bottom, they look like the best conference at this point in the season.
As far as the biggest disappointment, can I say conference realignment? I am all for schools and conferences as a whole trying to make their situation better; however, leave that in the off season. When fans turn on College Football Live, they want to see the analysts going over the weekend’s games and breaking down match ups. Nobody wants to spend half an hour listening to people talk about the latest rumor.
Gerald Nicdao, San Diego Sports Examiner: Let’s start this by saying there will be a San Diego theme to all of this.
Most impressive: Michigan.
This might sting San Diego State followers, but the Aztecs lost a great coach. Brady Hoke has Michigan 4-0 for the third consecutive year. What makes the difference between the Hoke-coached Wolverines and the ones led by Rich Rodriguez is that this Michigan can score AND play defense. Through their first four games, the Wolverines have allowed just 51 points. Last year, Michigan allowed 92 points in its 4-0 start, including 37 to FCS team UMass. In 2009, the Wolverines allowed 91 points in their perfect September.
Hoke has Michigan perfect again, but the defense has showed up. With this kind of effort being exerted by the Wolverines on defense, and with the dynamo at quarterback known as Denard Robinson, Michigan can be a contender in the Big Ten.
Most disappointing: Jordan Wynn, quarterback, Utah
Utah has not looked good in its first year as a Pac-12 member (and that includes its 54-10 thrashing of BYU in the Holy War). Even more disappointing is Wynn’s performance. In his two real games of the year (versus USC and BYU), Wynn has completed just 51.3 percent of his passes, a far cry from the 62.2 percent he averaged last year (I don’t include his numbers from the season-opener against Montana State, but maybe I should; his completion percentage rises to 54.5 percent; still not good).
Wynn—who led Oceanside High to two CIF-San Diego Section championships—has just five touchdown passes in his first three games this year. The Utes still have a chance of winning the Pac-12 South (after Arizona State toppled USC), but Wynn will have to play better if Utah will make any run.
Biggest surprise: Keith Price, quarterback, Washington
We’ll stay in the Pac-12 and go to last year’s Holiday Bowl winners (San Diego connection stays in tact).
Jake Locker meant everything to the Huskies. He was the heart, the soul and the inspiration for what was a very mediocre Washington team. With Locker now in the NFL, we’d expect to see the Huskies lost without any sense of direction in the heavily wooded Pacific Northwest.
Wrong. And that’s because the new starting quarterback, sophomore Keith Price, is currently having the best start to any season that any Washington quarterback has ever had. Price has already thrown 14 touchdown passes this year—halfway to the school record set by Cody Pickett in 2002. Even better is that Price is completing 67.0 percent of his passes. That’s a full 12 points higher than what Locker did his senior year in Seattle. The Huskies will be a force in the Pac-12 North if Price continues to play at this level.
Rich Kurtzman, Colorado State Rams Examiner: The most impressive team during the start of this season is definitely the LSU Tigers. LSU started their season by beating No. 3 Oregon, and handily, 40-27. And in all, they’ve already beaten three top 25 teams, including holding Mississippi State to only six points and drubbing No. 16 West Virginia last week.
Kevin, National College Football Examiner: For me the most impressive team this season so far has been LSU, without question. The defense has helped lead the way through some difficult times with players being suspended and they have defeated three top 25 teams this month, all away from home. Quarterback Jarrett Lee may not have been the best quarterback through four weeks, but he has shown the ability to manage LSU’s offense and keep them moving enough to score enough points to put the fate of the game in the hands of his defense.
I think special consideration to be made for Wisconsin and the Russell Wilson impact. Wisconsin is off to a roaring start and has a look like they could make a run at an undefeated season and could pose problems for any possible SEC opponent in the BCS picture, but there is plenty of football to be played.
I think the team I am most disappointed in at this point is Oregon State. Not because I was expecting too much from them this season, and injuries have been a factor, but a season opening loss at home to an FCS team and a blowout loss to Wisconsin was a rough start for the Beavers. To follow that up with a loss against UCLA after a bye week, and it’s safe to say Oregon State has a number of problems this season. Hopefully they can figure some things out before having to play Stanford and Oregon later in the season. Otherwise it could get ugly.
Individually, the play of Robert Griffin III at Baylor has been very impressive, and I can’t wait to see if he can keep that run going against the rest of the Big 12.
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