Week One Conference Roundup
09/08/2009 § Leave a comment
Outside of a handful of independents, the perception of any team’s season is tied to the overall performance of its conference, since at least two-thirds of the regular season schedule is dedicated to in-conference games. I thought I’d take a look at how each BCS conference performed in the opening week of action:
The SEC played four games against BCS conference opponents, winning three. South Carolina eked out a 7-3 victory against NC State. LSU took a long road trip and outlasted a surprisingly competitive Washington team 31-23. Alabama posted the conference’s highlight game of the week with their 34-24 win over Virginia Tech in a battle of top-ten teams. In the lone big-game blemish, Georgia was overpowered on the road by Oklahoma State, 24-10.
There were no humiliating upsets or close calls, as all other SEC teams vanquished their outmatched foes, with the closest game being Auburn’s 24-point win over Louisiana Tech.
SEC Overall Week 1 Record (OOC): 11-1
The Big 12 took on three BCS opponents this week, as well as #20 BYU from the Mountain West. Missouri blasted a talented but disappointing Illinois 37-9. Oklahoma State took out Georgia, 24-10. Baylor squeezed past a late-surging Wake Forest team 24-21. Oklahoma lost Heisman-winning QB Sam Bradford for a few weeks to injury and also dropped a heartbreaker to BYU, 14-13.
Most other teams took care of business, save for Colorado, who also found themselves bested by a Mountain West team in a 23-17 loss to Colorado State.
Big 12 Overall Week 1 Record (OOC): 10-2
The Big Ten faced just two BCS opponents this week and did not fare well. Besides Missouri’s smackdown of Illinois, Minnesota needed overtime to finally get a 3-point win over Syracuse.
Four other teams found themselves in dogfights against opponents that should have been put away by the fourth quarter, if not sooner. The biggest scare came from Iowa, as the Hawkeyes blocked two consecutive Northern Iowa field-goal attempts to hang on to a 17-16 win.
Northwestern, Purdue, Penn State, Michigan, and Michigan State all handled their opponents easily.
Big Ten Overall Week 1 Record (OOC): 10-1
The Pac-10 played two BCS opponents plus #14 Boise State from the WAC. California laid waste to Maryland, 52-13. Washington couldn’t overcome LSU, but looked good in a 31-23 loss. Oregon was underwhelming on the blue turf, losing to Boise State 19-8.
In one league game, Washington State was pummelled by Stanford, 39-13.
The rest of the conference posted solid victories over lesser teams.
Pac-10 Overall Week 1 Record (OOC): 6-2
The ACC faced off against four BCS opponents and took a beating. NC State couldn’t get anything going against South Carolina, losing 7-3. Wake Forest dropped a close one to Baylor, 24-21. Virginia Tech fell to Alabama 34-24. Maryland was abused by California, 52-13.
But that’s not the worst of it. While Georgia Tech, Boston College, North Carolina, and Clemson knocked off their light-weight opponents, Virginia was drubbed by William & Mary, 26-14 and Duke was similarly stunned by another FCS team as they went down to Richmond, 24-16.
On Monday, things got a little better, as the conference’s two marquee teams faced off in a thriller, with Miami topping Florida State 38-34.
ACC Overall Week 1 Record (OOC): 4-6
The Big East lost its only game against a BCS opponent this week when Syracuse went down in OT to Minnesota, 23-20. Other Big East teams won their OOC matchups, while defending conference champs Cincinnati destroyed Rutgers 47-15.
Big East Overall Week 1 Record (OOC): 5-1