2013-09-06 06:22

First gameday is over and it was wonderful. Not only did many teams lose against the supposed to be FCS cupcakes, no, also did some teams show they are ready ... Or not.

Especially the teams with new coaches are always under additional pressure, since it is expected to see progress, very fast.

Last season I did an entry regarding the coaching changes. I did explain the changing environments of the coaching world. Winning right from the start is expected and if you do not deliver early, you will lose your job quickly.

Last season, 25 new coaches got the chance to improve their new teams.
That was around 20% of all schools.

This season .... it's 31!
31 schools did change their coaches. Of 125 schools. That's almost 25%!

There are always two kind of coaching changes. Some teams do fire their coach for sucking and have to get a new one. And then there are the teams losing their coach, because that greedy bastard ... Eh ... Sorry ... That ambitious coach who is looking for a new challenge in a more competitive environment left and the team has to look for a successor.

In very small potions does a retirement also come into play, but normally it's firing and promoting.

Of cause both kind of changes do play hand in hand.

For example did Arkansas fire their (granted interims) coach and hired long time Wisconsin HC Bret Bielema. Wisconsin did not wait for long and hired Utah State HC Gary Andersen. Utah State promoted then their OC Matt Wells and all positions were set again. 1 firing lead to 3 schools looking for no leaders.

The problem with that system from my point of view is that many of the last years changes were too fast.

Team do fire their coaches often in less than 4 seasons. And the often hire new headcoaches away from teams where they did not coach longer than 4 seasons.

It will be interesting if this trend of faster and faster winning expectations will get a ceiling at some point (logic dictates it has to) or if it even will go downwards (which I don't expect).

My guess for the next season is that we will keep that 25% alive. But it will not raise much.

Now let's have a look at the BLOCK OF GRANITE TOP GAMES FOR WEEK 2

Saturday, September 7
#12 Florida @ Miami (FL)
This game is supposed to be big.
On paper it is. It's a brutal rivalry, which is not played very often, since the annual meeting between both teams ended in 1987. Since then they played only 1 more time, 2001.
It's not easy to get schedules in synch and even worse, if the SEC starts playing 9 games a season from next year on it will get even harder to get both teams together. Of cause there is also a money issue, otherwise it would be much easier to play against each other and we would see them play it every year.
Anyway, this year Miami is supposed to be competitive and Florida is looking for a front runner spot in the SEC which means automatically also a front runner spot on the national championship race.
Is Miami really fit to top this Florida team?
For me, only the home field advantage does help them.
I think they are not suited on every position to be on the same level as the Gators are.
But an early season meeting with a home field bonus might be enough to have the Gators unbalanced.
I'm expecting a low scoring game with a close finish.
But I'm still not convinced that Miami is able to pull an upset.
Will Muschamp, the Gators HC, will find a way to keep his boys up front when the final whistle blows.
Gators will win.

Saturday, September 7
Western Kentucky @ Tennessee
A very unusual game for a top game, but this is special. Western Kentucky is led by Bobby Petrino, the former Arkansas HC (a SEC team).
His boys did upset Kentucky, another SEC school, last week (if they had lost, they wouldn't be on the list) and even if Kentucky has some issues, normally a SEC school should win on any gameday against a SBC team, like Western Kentucky. But they lost and now the visit Tennessee, another SEC program with issues.
So it might happen that WKU pulls another upset.
Chances are not that slim.
Western Kentucky looks good. They look good enough to win the SBC and Tennessee did win their opener against a FCS team 45-0.
The home field advantage might be the deciding factor.
If WKU wins this, they are in the lead for a BCS Buster (means playing as non-automatic qualified conference member in a BCS Bowl).
I can't help but still giving Tennessee the edge here. It’s still a SEC team …
My guts are saying I will regret that pick, but I think the Vols will win.

Saturday, September 7
#6 South Carolina @ #11 Georgia
A nice win by South Carolina last week against North Carolina and a close loss by Georgia against Clemson.
Still both teams are ranked and will clash for a very early deciding match for the SEC Eastern Division.
Opinions regarding the outcome are spread wide and this will be real clash.
It's played in Athens, UGA territory.
Expect the crowd to be wild, the Dog to be hungry and both teams to be focused.
Biggest question mark will be if that all american defensive end of SC will come to actually play, or if he will just toy around like he did against the Tar Heels.
If Jadeveon Clowney does play 100% the Bulldogs offensive line will have to bring their A game.
Hard to pick a winner here, but in doubt I pick the home team.
So I expect to get the most out of that deep Georgia team and win a close match with the dog eating the chicken.

Saturday, September 7
#14 Notre Dame @ #17 Michigan
At one point, I'm sure, will both team suck. Can't help to have that feeling. The Irish needed the whole last season to spend their whole reserves of luck and did then fail at the finals big time. Michigan did suck right from the start last season.
NOW we have a different situation.
The Irish won by around 3 scores against Temple last week. That's not a big win ....
They have some issues at QB, they are weaker at defense.
The Wolverines did put on a 50-burger on Central Michigan last week and they look very good.
Normally this Notre Dame - Michigan games are close and not every time does the favourite win.
This year I expect a Wolverine win by at least double digit margin.
I hope I'm wrong, since I love close games, but with all the stuff which happened to both teams the last 2 seasons, I think Michigan is on an up year and Notre Dame not.
Wolverines win here.

Saturday, September 7
Washington State @ #25 USC
This will be interesting, at least for me.
USC is always supposed to be big, just because they are USC.
Talent wise it's a no brainer, but as a team you need more than talent.
Lane Kiffin is from my point of view far from bringing the best out of his players and forming a team out of them.
They won against Hawai'i, but so will do a lot of teams this season.
Will the Mike Leach lead Cougers, which lost only by 1 score against a resurrected Auburn team last week, win against this (as I think) weak USC team?
It might happen.
In fact I think it will happen.
I believe Leach will find ways to score and I think USC will find ways to hurt themself.
If USC come out playing 100% by their talent, Wazzu will stumble and lose.
But USC did not show up 100% since .... well Lane Kiffin boarded?
Washington State will pull an upset. There you have it.

Saturday, September 7
Navy @ Indiana
Why this matchup?
Because I'm curious to see how Indiana (which destroyed that FCS team last week) plays against a quite good team with a dynamic offense and a capable defense.
At least I expect Navy to be that way, they did not play yet.
Indiana was almost a laughing stock the past few ... well decades?
They might surprise a lot of teams this season, including Navy.
After what I've seen last week, I expect them to win against Navy, but I hope for a nice clash and a way closer game than that FCS game.
Since Navy is supposed to rock this season, again, those soldiers might have to pump a lot of push-ups at this game (every navy score means push-ups for a group of soldiers in the stadium, every time as much as the score is, so 7, 14, 21 and so on or even 6, 7, 13, 14 and so, can’t remember …; imagine this a must for all spectators ... lol).
Anyway, I pick Indiana in a high scoring game.

‘Til next time

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