|(AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill)(AP Photo/John Miller)|
|USC coach Steve Sarkisian and Texas-San Antonio coach Larry Coker.|
The college football season has begun in earnest, and with that comes some new features around College Football 24/7. With Week 1 in the books, we decided to fire up a new Tuesday Tweetbag to tackle the burning topics on your minds this season about everything from top prospects to the best teams in the sport.
Feel free to submit your questions to @BryanDFischer on Twitter each Monday or Tuesday morning to get them answered every week. Without further ado, let the smorgasbord of questions commence.
@BryanDFischer Is Fresno as bad as fans think? Is USC as good as fans think? Or is the truth probably somewhere in the middle?â Josh Webb (Twist) (@FightOnTwist) September 1, 2014
I went into Saturday's slate expecting USC to win in Steve Sarkisian's debut but was a little surprised how they absolutely crushed Fresno State. After all the drama in the preceding week, it wouldn't have taken much to get the team fired up to actually do something between the lines, but the Trojans executed well in all three phases of the game to blow out the visiting Bulldogs. 700-plus yards of total offense is always an impressive feat, but doing so with an offensive line of four underclassmen and only two returning starters is even more impressive.
I think the truth is somewhere in the middle for Fresno State. Replacing that much offense was bound to be a struggle, and it didn't seem like they had a savvy game plan with a first-time starter in Brian Burrell and a rotating Brandon Connette both looking a little lost at times. There were some positives, however, and the team should still be considered the favorite in their division to make it to the Mountain West title game. This club has some talent, including Derron Smith as one of the top senior safeties in the country. Tim DeRuyter's team will need to regroup quickly, however, as it faces a brutal non-conference slate to open 2014.
As to Josh's second question, we'll figure out this week if USC is as good as fans think. I'm really curious to see how that young line can handle Stanford's front seven, which is not only talented but experienced. As far as I'm concerned, this is a really even matchup given the defenses involved, and it might be a better game than the one I'm going to between Oregon and Michigan State. Given UCLA and Washington's Week 1 struggles, the winner likely emerges as the Pac-12's second best team.
@BryanDFischer you think too much emphasis is put on Week 1 cfb results? Think people can be too quick to over analyze or complement. Agree?â Eric Sorenson (@EricSports360AZ) September 1, 2014
Absolutely, and even I get suckered into doing that at times on Twitter. I think the great thing about the sport is we do get some breathing room on Sundays to regather our thoughts to take a longer view on what happened during the week. Still, early in the season with so few things to go on after so much time without football makes things ripe for overreaction.
Perhaps that's why my Monday column, Inside the Pocket, tried to go about dispelling some Week 1 myths and overreactions that popped up.
@BryanDFischer Better start up job: Jim Leavitt at USF, or Coker at UTSA? Maybe Leavitt, but he was much younger then Coach Coker.â Brian Horton (@horton1733) September 1, 2014
It's hard to believe that Friday's big win over Houston was just UTSA's 35th game as a football program. This doesn't look like a team entering its fourth season of existence, and that's a credit to Coker and the large group of seniors who bought in to what he was selling despite not playing a single game during their first year on campus. Among the dozen or so programs that have started up and joined the FBS level in the past few years, none have come close to the success UTSA has. That comes back to talent and to coaching.
I would lean toward the Roadrunners as the answer to the question because they had far fewer resources than USF in the early years. Both are in talent-rich states with solid local recruiting bases to draw on and a healthy number of students at the university. I'm not sure the Roadrunners can match the highs that USF has seen -- No. 2 in the BCS! -- but I believe they're on the right track to build a consistent mid-tier FBS program for years to come. Being the only major source for football in Texas' second-largest city puts them in a good position to continue to grow, and they're certainly a team to keep an eye on going forward.
@BryanDFischer TCU/Minnesota? Two decent Power 5 teams that looked good in opening wins.â Melissa Triebwasser (@CoachMelissaGB) September 1, 2014
Melissa's question came in response to me lamenting on how there's not much depth to the Week 2 slate of college football games. Yes there's some excellent matchups, including two big games out West and a huge rivalry game (for the last time) in Michigan-Notre Dame. Throw in Virginia Tech at Ohio State and the top four games are great.
After that though, things begin to drop off. BYU-Texas had some shine taken off it when David Ash was ruled out as the Longhorns quarterback. Eastern Carolina at South Carolina is extremely intriguing, as is Boise State-Colorado State. But it probably says something when Eastern Washington at Washington is more interesting than anything on the SEC slate. As for Minnesota and TCU, that's actually next week but I'm interested to see if either offense can be as effective as they were in Week 1.
@BryanDFischer does it seem that pollsters have traded in the idea of pole position and instead going with wild over reaction to one game?â Matthew Bentley (@jaxon_knife) September 2, 2014
In some respects, yes. Take, for example, San Jose Mercury News writer Jon Wilner's AP ballot this week. He put LSU as his No. 1 because it was, in his words, the best result of the weekend. While I respect Jon tremendously, I think he's a little off-base on putting either the Tigers or Wisconsin in the top 10.
Was it a great result? Sure. But if you watched that game, you saw both teams struggle for long stretches on both sides of the ball and each experience growing pains with a number of new starters. To call a team that had a quarterback who didn't complete half his passes the best in the country is a little much in my opinion.
The good news is polls are somewhat of a mute point with a selection committee in the mix this season, but they still play an important part in shaping the narrative around teams that the committee will consider.
Follower @Utebuntu asked today who my No. 1 was, so I figured I would just post my full top 25 that was submitted for the CFB 24/7 Power Rankings.
1. FSU 2. Oregon 3. Alabama 4. Baylor 5. Oklahoma 6. Michigan State 7. Texas A&M 8. Georgia 9. USC 10. Auburn 11. Stanford 12. Ole Miss 13. Kansas State 14. UCLA 15. LSU 16. Ohio State 17. Arizona State 18. BYU 19. Notre Dame 20. Clemson 21. Michigan 22. Arizona 23. Oklahoma State 24. Duke 25. South Carolina
You can follow Bryan Fischer on Twitter at @BryanDFischer.