Saturday, September 8, 2007

College football season underway


The 2007 college football season is underway. My favorite team, the Oregon State Beavers, are off to a 1-1 start. The Beavers, behind Yvenson Bernard's 165 yards rushing on 29 carries and two touchdowns, beat Utah 24-7, in front of over 40,000 at Reser Stadium in Corvallis. Week two was a much different story, as Cincinnati totally shut down the Beaver offense, holding Bernard to 30 yards on 16 carries, while picking off five passes, in rolling to a 34-3 victory. The Beaver defense has showed itself to be one of the best in the nation during the first two weeks, consistantly putting pressure on opposing quarterbacks and stringing out running plays, allowing little, if any positive yardage on many plays. The Beavers though, have struggled a bit at both quarterback and the kicking game. Sean Canfield and Lyle Moevao have struggled to gain control of the offense, while third-stringer Ryan Gunderson has so far seen only a bit of mop-up action in the Utah game. Alexis Serna, one of the best place kickers in the country, has yet to hit his stride as the team's new punter. Oregon State has a chance to contend for the Pac-10 title and perhaps a BCS bowl as well. But more than anything, improved play at the quarterback spot will be a must.

The biggest upset in all of college football in many years, of course, was Appalachin State winning at Michigan in week one. While Michigan looks like they may well have been way overrated to start the season, the Mountaineers are the defending 1-AA champions and should never be taken lightly. Michigan will have to step things up if they hope to be taken seriously this season. Notre Dame is in the same boat, after getting hammered in their opener.

One team that should be well worth watching, will be Portland State. The Vikings, members of the 1-AA Big Sky Conference, have Jerry Glanville on staff as their new head coach, following the departure of Tim Walsh, who took the offensive coordinator's position at Army, after 14 years at the PSU helm. Running the Viking offense is Mouse Davis. Davis, a former PSU head coach and inventor of run and shoot offense, should bring back life to the program, which has it's eyes set on not only a Big Sky title, but in becoming closer to being considered on the same level as the Pac-10 programs in Corvallis and Eugene.

And since I reside in the middle of the reddest state in the nation, I must say something about the Nebraska Cornhuskers. They look like a real solid football team, worthy of their top-25 ranking. The Huskers are off to a 2-0 start, hammering Nevada last week and squeaking past Wake Forest on the road earlier today. Nebraska hosts top-ranked USC next Saturday in what should be an excellent football game. Unless, of course, the Trojans come flying out of the gate offensively and control the Big Red offense. Then, it could get ugly quick. However, I expect the big red-clad crowd at Memorial Stadium in Lincoln to inspire their team to a big effort. It'll be a fun game to watch.

While I mainly just follow Oregon State football, I may have to expand my scope of following the college ranks. This could be a really fun season.

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