What a weekend!
Last weekend was a great start for the college football season. There were several excellent games that included a few
surprises, while others just rolled right along.
The most anticipated game was Michigan at Notre Dame. These two programs, entrenched in tradition, looked to be moving in different directions before the season started. On paper, this game looked to be a blowout in Michigan's favor, but that is why the game is played on the field.
Michigan controlled the first half and led 13-6. However, mstakes in the second half mistakes by Michigan allowed the Domers to outscore the Wolverines 27 to 7.
The outcome was a definite statement to the entire nation that the Irish will be a force to deal with this year. ND will play Michigan State (0-2), and another dominating performance should alert all teams that this is a resurgence by this team. No one can dispute that this was clearly the game of the week.
Ohio State did not break under pressure at West Virginia, but instead showed why it is No.1 in the nation. The Buckeyes displayed both their dangerous rushing game, led by Michael Wiley, and the best passing attack in the nation, which includes QB Joe Germaine and wideouts Dee Miller and David Boston. OSU now faces last year's MAC West champ, Toledo, and is favored to win by 37.
The biggest upset of the week was North Carolina losing to Miami (Ohio). UNC lost starting QB Oscar Davenport to injury, and he was replaced by true freshman Ronald Curry. The Heels lost the game on a last-second field goal.
Washington also pulled off a mild shocker by beating No. 9 Arizona State. Brock Huard tossed his name into the Heisman race by throwing for 321 yards and 4 touchdowns.
The Heisman watch
Speaking of the Heisman, most of the favorites are still in the hunt, and several newcomers have invited themselves to the party after stellar performances.
Texas' Ricky Williams rushed for an impressive 216 yards and 6 touchdowns against the Aggie defense - New Mexico State Aggies, that is. Next up for Runnin' Ricky and the Horns: UCLA.
Tim Couch blew up and threw for 498 yards and threw 7 (not a typo) TDs in a 68-34 rout against Louisville. Couch gets this week off. Oh wait - no, I'm sorry. They play Division I-AA also-ran Eastern Kentucky.
Well, consider it an off-week if you want. Couch may throw for more touchdowns than EKU has yards.
Central Florida's Dante Culpepper upstaged Tim Rattay and threw for 321 yards and 4 TDs. Rattay threw for over 500 yards, but the Bulldogs were murdered, 64-30.
UCLA's Cade McNown will play this week against Texas, and Kevin Faulk will face his first hurdle against Arkansas State. Both Jamel Lewis and Brock Huard have entered the Heisman hype after outstanding performances against Top 15 teams. Amos Zereoue only rushed for 77 yards and might have played himself out of the Heisman already.
On tap this weekend
Unlike last weekend, where there were quite a number of Top-25 matchups, this week there are only two.
The most intriguing game this week is the rematch of UCLA and Texas in the Rose Bowl. Last year, the Longhorns were embarrassed in front of their alumni, fans and future recruits when they lost 66-3 to the Bruins in Austin. This year, UT has a new coach in Mack Brown, but will continue to have the same old problems against the So-Cals.
Ricky Williams is a great player, but UT must pass the ball to have a chance to win. The 'Horns failed last year, and with James Brown gone, the pressure is on Richard Walton to lead this team to the end zone. UCLA's defense is not as good as last year's, but the offense is still high-powered and McNown could have a field day with UT's defense. The Cougar Sports staff is expecting another forgettable day for Texas when UCLA shows UT first-hand how a Top 5 team plays. This one is on ABC at 2:30 p.m., and it's going to get ugly.
Notre Dame vs. Michigan State is not as great a game as people thought it would be before the season. MSU has lost both games it has played this year, the latest being a 48-14 thrashing by Oregon. The Spartans might be 0-4 after losing to ND and Michigan.
Notre Dame should control the ball with RB Autry Denson and its first true option QB since 1993, Jarious Jackson. The defense again will stop the MSU offense and should be 2-0 after leaving East Lansing. This airs on ABC at 7 p.m.
BYU-Arizona State was expected to be a game of unbeatables as BYU was to show that it will be an elite team against the PAC-10 favorites. But BYU was beaten by Alabama, and Washington shocked Arizona State, erasing any hope for a national title. This should be a good offensive game. It airs on ESPN2 at 8 p.m.
You have to feel sorry for Louisiana Tech. After being pounded by Nebraska and Central Florida, it gets to face the stubborn defense of A&M and a Butkus candidate in Dat Nguyen. Tim Ratty and Troy Edwards will hook up for some yards, but the Aggie rushing game will rock and roll over the Louisiana Tech defense.
Kansas State and Florida both take the high road as each will give out another fat paycheck for easy wins.
On the tube
Navy at Wake Forest, 7 p.m. on ESPN tonight; Northern Illinois at Kansas State, KNWS Channel 51, 11:30 a.m.; Rice at Purdue on ESPN, 11 a.m.; Iowa at Iowa State, ESPN2, 11:30 a.m.; Georgia at South Carolina, ESPN2, 5 p.m.
Reach Talukder at