Neither California nor Hawaii showed much D on the turf Down Under, where the opening night battle was inexplicably contested in front of a relatively quiet Sydney crowd, which appeared oft confused at the nature of the game.
Neither Allen Bestwick nor Mike Belloti showed much expertise in the TV booth. Then again they were somewhere in the U S A, where they inexplicably called the game while sitting in front of TV monitors. Guess ESPN had too small budget for this one, couldn’t afford to send the announcers to the game.
The Rainbow Warriors opened the affair with an onside kickoff. It failed. And matters went south from there for first year coach Nick Rolovich’s charges.
Off the field was also strange. There was a marriage proposal. There was corn hole during tailgate. There were two foot long hot dogs for sale. (Take that State Fair.) But no beer after halftime to wash them down with. The stadium ran out.
Well, rest easy, my fellow pigskin acolytes.
Seedy K shall not run out of predictions as the season progresses. SK’sPPP is back.
Enough foolish ado already, let’s get this party started.
Notre Dame @ Texas. Brian Kelly’s circumspect acceptance that some players’ heads will roll administratively after a recent spate of arrests tells me he realizes genuflecting acceptance of the school’s Hesburghian ways of discipline is probably more important for his longevity in South Bend than a national title. Of course, that could change should the Irish fall in this key opener, the biggest game of foe Charlie Strong’s Longhorn career. Given that open carry state ‘horn boosters are rabid for a change if the Burnt Orange don’t improve dramatically, my guess is Charlie learned his lesson in Louisville, and is minding his biz on and off the field in Austin. The Irish romped last year under TD Jesus’s gaze, but don’t traditionally fare well in openers on other teams’ turf. Texas has won 16 consecutive home openers. I’ve a vision of those fans reholstering their pistols and Charlie being carried off the field on Bevo’s back. Yippee Ti Ya Yay. Hook ‘Em Horns.
Oklahoma vs. Houston (NRG Stadium, Houston). Should Texas by some chance get bashed in its opener, this one could be the last game in his current position for Cougar coach Tom Herman. He’d have so much oil money thrown at him, he’d be inclined to move to Austin immediately. The coaching Flavor of the Month proved a wünderkind as Houston went 13-1 in his rookie season, ending with a peachy postseason W over the Seminoles. Greg Wade is the real deal at QB. The Cougs should be tough again, though only half their starters return. The Sooners signal caller Baker Mayfield ain’t chopped liver himself. Expectations are high in Norman. Which through the years hasn’t been optimal for Bob Stoops’ squads. Anyhow as my crystal ball says it plays out, Herman stays in Houston for the season as the bloom proves off the rose when Boomer Sooner prevails in the opener.
Georgia vs. North Carolina (Georgia Dome, Atlanta). The Tar Heels gave Clemson all the Tigers could handle in the ACC title game last year. Thus, while Louisville is getting most of the ink as the league’s darkhorse, Carolina is the trendy pick. Larry Fedora finally seems to have things going after a couple of rocky seasons before last year’s resurgence. It’s going to be fascinating to see if what Georgia’s fans wanted works out? Mark Richt was canned after two 10-3, bowl-winning seasons in a row. Favorite son Kirby Smart has never been a head coach, but it’s not like he doesn’t know what being in a winning program entails. Will that translate onto the field, where many a sure thing coordinator come head coach has not found success? The Bulldogs are experienced, but not under this new system. Facing a feisty, hungry opening foe is not exactly what Smart would have preferred. Baby Blue in a mild upset.
Southern Miss @ Kentucky. Oh how the Wildcats wish they were opening with Charlotte, which is arch rival U of L’s pleasure. UK thrashed the 49ers last November 58-10. Instead Mark Stoops, his britches smoking, faces Southern Mississippi, which after a couple of desultory campaigns, has its mojo workin’ again. To the Wildcats good fortune, the mentor who got the Golden Eagles airborne is off to the NFL. And SM’s new OC resided in Lexington last season, where his less than exemplary offense got him canned. The Cats fans are an optimistic lot. One I chatted with over the weekend got so psyched listening to Stoops on Matt Jones’ show, he decided to get tickets for the opener. Reality might be different. I’m advised an ex-Wildcat assistant coach watched his old team practice and was suitably unimpressed. A former Wildcat player indicated to me he has little hope Stoops is the guy to get UK back in the game. So it goes. Southern Miss will start lots of experience against the Cats, but it’s hard to believe, given all that this game means for the Stoops regime, that Kentucky’s season will fall apart in the opener. Big Blue by a whisker.
Charlotte @ Louisville. In 1970 Charlotte upgraded from the NAIA to Division I in NCAA hoops. A half decade later, feeding on a diet of Cornbread Maxwell, the 49ers crashed the Final Four. It would not appear the 49ers ascendance up the hierarchy of FBS football will not come quite as quickly. This is the C-USA school’s fourth year of gridiron competition, and its minor upgrade in scheduling last season came with a noticeable downturn in performance. Those who read the previous paragraph should recall the school was battered by Kentucky last year by 48 points. This should be a scrimmage for the Cards, getting to hit players other than each other. Injury avoidance is important. The visitors essentially have no chance. This is not App State in Ann Arbor.
— Seedy K