I celebrated the opening of college football Thursday night by frying some okra and watching every game I could. This is what I saw and thought:
* Wonder if the Cleveland Browns today are thinking they should have hired Kevin Sumlin rather than drafting Johnny Manziel?
Sumlin’s offense was incredibly impressive in a 52-28 rout of South Carolina, which entered with a No. 9 national ranking and a reputation for stellar defense. The Gamecocks leave with neither.
New Texas A&M quarterback Kenny Hill completed 44 of 60 passes for 511 yards and three touchdowns. “We aren’t a one-trick pony,” Sumlin said, and who can doubt him after this game.
Not to get too far ahead or ourselves, but after one day of the college football season, we have to admit, the early Heisman Trophy leader is Kenny Football.
* Bad day for the SEC East. South Carolina gets rolled by the Aggies. Vanderbilt, which over the last several years has been the No. 4 team in the division, loses to Temple 37-7. Georgia appears to be the SEC’s lone hope for an East Division rep in the Football Four. Of course, the SEC West offers plenty of candidates.
* Bad, bad loss for Mike Leach and Washington State, which fell to Rutgers 41-38. Midway through the fourth quarter, the Cougars had the lead and the ball — momentarily, before a fumbled punt set up Rutgers for the go-ahead touchdown drive.
Here’s how this game hurts Washington State. Leach last season took the Cougars to their first bowl in 10 years.
To return to a bowl, WSU will have to beat Nevada and Portland State, then go at least 4-5 in the Pac-12. The Cougars went 4-5 in 2013, but it’s not easy. Washington State plays at Utah, Stanford, Oregon State and Arizona State; WSU hosts Oregon, Cal, Arizona, Southern Cal and Washington. Finding four victories is not going to be easy.
Meanwhile, Rutgers set up its season. The Scarlet Knights play Howard, Navy and Tulane in non-conference. Win those three games, and Rutgers to be bowl eligible would only have to go 2-6 in its maiden Big Ten season. Reverse the WSU-Rutgers game, and WSU likely would have needed just a 3-6 conference finish, while Rutgers would have needed 3-5. Big difference.
* Great win for Tulsa, considering the Hurricane looked in trouble when it trailed Tulane by two touchdowns late in the first half. But Tulsa rallied for a 38-31 double-overtime victory at Chapman Stadium.
Sophomore quarterback Dane Evans, who struggled last season, was much better Thursday night, completing 31 of 53 passes for 438 yards and four touchdowns. His 84-yard touchdown pass to Keevan Lucas with 37 seconds left in the first half was the game’s big play. It drew TU within 21-14 at halftime.
Tulsa hosts OU on Sept. 6, and the Hurricane appears to have some playmakers. Lucas had 13 catches for 233 yards and three TDs. Tavarreon Dickerson runs hard and quick; he had 84 yards rushing on 15 carries.
* Boise State’s quarterbacking has dipped. The Broncos hung tough with Ole Miss in Atlanta, trailing just 7-6 going into the fourth quarter. But Boise State got little productive QB play and lost 35-13. Grant Hedrick completed 36 of 44 for an 82 percent completion rate, but he threw four interceptions.
Where have you gone, Jared Zabransky, much less Kellen Moore?
* Minnesota beat Eastern Illinois 42-20 on the Big Ten Network, which I don’t think I have on my cable system. What a far cry from the SEC Network, which is loaded with quality games and ESPN promotion.
* Central Michigan rallied past Chattanooga 20-16. Central Michigan was playing at home in Mount Pleasant, where OSU will play next September. Shouldn’t be too much of a test.
* Louisiana-Monroe knocked off Wake Forest 17-10. A sad start to the post-Jim Grobe era. Wake will miss Grobe, who brought hope to the Demon Deacons. Even brought Wake Forest an ACC title in 2006 and an Orange Bowl trip. Grobe went 77-82 in 13 Wake seasons. But he apparently left the cupboard dry, and now we’ll see if the Deacons can return to any relevancy in college football.
But at least the Duck Dynasty folks are happy.