Random takeaways from yesterday’s first full day of college football, starting with the L.A. teams because I’m a faithful Angelino, even though I live with hurricanes now instead of earthquakes:
1) Kirk Herbstreit said absolutely nothing I can contest during Alabama’s systematic 52-6 destruction of USC in Dallas last night. Not that I look for reasons to accuse announcers of bias. Trust me, when announcers are biased, they aren’t sneaky about it. Listen to local Chicago sports broadcasts if you want proof.
Having said that, Herbstreit was darn near a prophet after Alabama’s first score in the second quarter. Without having the transcript of the broadcast in front of me — God help me if I did — he said that in trying to rebuild the Trojans program, a flaw they needed to overcome was wilting under the first strains of adversity.
At 7-3, USC was in the game. Only the Trojans went three and out and on the ensuing punt, Jabari Ruffin acted like Ndamukong Suh by stomping an Alabama player in the testicles. Now, I may be a SoCal dude, but I learned at that moment I’m more “dude” than “SoCal,” because my instant reaction was “throw that motherf-cker out.”
If ever there was an indicator that all composure was gone for USC, that was it. It went from a simple strain of adversity to full-blown panic and immaturity.
I don’t think the Trojans did one thing right after that, and they suffered their worst loss in 50 years. There’s no point in further recapping it. There is only the question of whether USC can rebound. Clay Helton still hasn’t won a football game since becoming the full-time coach, by the way.
2) UCLA pretty much earned the result predicted. It makes sense that Texas A&M would find a way to cobble together four touchdowns and the Bruins would be hard-pressed to match that because the Aggies defensive line would bother Josh Rosen. Final score: Texas A&M 31-24.
But I still have to hand credit to the Bruins. Indeed, I have to hand it to most teams in college football this weekend because…
3) With the exception of Alabama, the SEC is a fraud. I’ve been saying it for years and yesterday bore that out.
For years, the opening week for college football was dreck. If you were a team with any hope of climbing the rankings, your first two or three games were against horrible teams. The SEC teams would pad their win column, their stats, get a couple of overrated players some Heisman hype — LSU — and then face each other. And every game was billed as a clash of titans, even though these alleged Goliaths hadn’t played anyone worth a damn.
It always bothered me, because sportswriters — exclusively from the east coast — would assure us that the SEC was that amazing. Because after all, they’re the ones with the inside dope. They know.
No, they don’t.
Eventually, the TV execs finally got through. Entertainment types wield power. They write big checks. Maybe those checks are even big enough to get running water for every double wide trailer in Fayetteville, Ark. But those greenbacks came with a caveat. Playing poop teams equals poop ratings. Time to earn you keep, Earl.
So how did this alleged collection of Deep South superteams fare when picking on somebody their own size? Tennessee needed overtime to win at home, as did Texas A&M. Florida needed two late touchdowns to finally beat UMass. Georgia and Arkansas also had to rally in the fourth quarter to win at home.
And who lost? Auburn, Kentucky, Mississippi State, Missouri and No. 5 LSU.
All credit Alabama, to be sure.
But the SEC as a conference has been exposed as just another conference. Nothing special.
4) Speaking of scheduling down, Central Florida did and one local businessman is grateful as hell.
You might have vague recollections of UCF being good. They were when Blake Bortles was at quarterback. Last year, when the Knights got off to a bad start, a local bar offered free beer to fans to drown their sorrows until UCF won.
The Knights went 0-12, and the bar owner estimates he lost more than $1 million in the name of school pride.
It makes me wonder if the bar owner paid for UCF to schedule South Carolina State. By the way, you’re paying for your booze again after that 38-0 win.