Well, the first weekend of college football is almost in the books, and with just a couple of games left, I’ve got some observations from week one with some NFL Draft implications for 2013 as well as a future year. My NCAA football day started with watching the end of a couple of early games, including Ohio State vs. Miami (OH) and Penn State vs. Ohio.
Other than Penn State losing, there’s not a lot to talk about in that game. PSU will have a couple of guys drafted this year and in years to come, but for the most part, they are going to dwell in the lower level of Big Ten teams, especially as long as they have QBs like Matt McGloin. The poor guy just cannot get anything going.
Ohio State vs. Miami (OH)
Braxton Miller may have emerged as a Heisman candidate with this game. He’s going to need to be a better passer, but there is simply no denying his multiple talents out there on the football field. Miller completed 14 passes and finished with over 200 yards passing, along with a couple of touchdowns. He also carried the ball tied for the team lead 17 times for 161 yards and another touchdown. He is a hard guy to keep track of, and while he is surrounded by a lot of talent, the Urban Meyer offense is a perfect fit for his skill set.
Ohio State also has a bunch of guys defensively who you want to keep an eye on, like defensive linemen Johnathan Hankins and John Simon, who are both potential All-Conference candidates.
Iowa Hawkeyes vs. Northern Illinois Huskies
This was a really poor debut for Iowa, but fans will take a win any way they can get it. There are quite a few observations though it’s still really early to judge a lot of Iowa’s young talent. Tight end C.J. Fiedorowicz is a very good blocker and if quarterback James Vandenberg could get him the ball, he could be one of the most complete tight ends in college football. I’m really encouraged by what I’ve seen from Iowa’s linebacker group, including James Morris, Christian Kirksey, and Anthony Hitchens. Those guys are fast, quick to the point of attack, and very instinctive.
The biggest takeaway from Iowa’s opening game is that James Vandenberg has not improved upon his first season as the full-time starter since Ricky Stanzi left. After an up-and-down season last year where he flashed some star ability, this was not the season opener that JVB was looking for with the Hawkeyes. Fans are going to be clamoring for a new QB before too long if he continues to play like this. He showed some athletic ability and flashed his arm strength, but his accuracy was erratic and he was consistently going for his first read in the pr0gression, and constantly attempting passes on third downs that were not anywhere near the first down marker. It was not a good debut for him, so we’ll see how he responds against Iowa State.
USC Trojans vs. Hawaii Warriors
First play from scrimmage for the Trojans was a 75 yard touchdown pass. That should give you an indication of how explosive this offense is. Marqise Lee is an absolutely incredible playmaker and also had a 100 yard kick return touchdown in addition to his 75 yard catch and run. He is much bigger and stronger than last year, and he looks like he is going to be an All-American candidate this year. Barkley had four touchdown passes, including two to junior Robert Woods, who is still one of the best players on this team. When he is fully healthy, he’s going to be one to watch once again.
Running back Silas Redd also got into the action, catching a pass and running for 40 yards before fumbling it away. He also ran for a long touchdown and once he fully digests this offense and gains some comfortability in this offense, he could be a very dynamic addition.
Michigan Wolverines vs. Alabama Crimson Tide
Well, Michigan just got killed here. Alabama has the best offensive line in college football, and probably every single one of those guys will be playing in the NFL sooner rather than later. The biggest eye opener here is that Alabama is clearly not going to suffer from losing Heisman candidate Trent Richardson. T.J. Yeldon and Eddie Lacy are an awesome duo, and we can’t forget about junior Jalston Fowler, who had 67 yards on eight carries.. The defense is still incredibly talented, and had three interceptions on the night off of Denard Robinson, one to Dee Milliner and also a pick-six to linebacker C.J. Mosley.
For Michigan, the worst news was the injury to offensive tackle Taylor Lewan, and it happened at the end of the game. You never wnt to see injuries happen, but especially not at the end of a blowout game. Robinson himself was very limited running the ball, and had a lot of trouble throwing it. It was just an overall bad night for Michigan, which was man-handled on both sides of the ball by a very good Alabama team that looks poised to make another title run.