In the opening weekend of the 2012 college football season, there were a few surprises, and there were also some games that went as expected. Here are some things to file away for later:
1. The Tennessee Volunteers did what they were expected to do against a pretty good N.C. State squad on Friday night. The Vols scored a 35-21 win and were in control of the contest practically the entire way. Did this win save Coach Derek Dooley's job and make his team a lock for a major bowl game? No; but it was a huge step in the right direction. The biggest surprise coming out of this game was the play of junior receiver Cordarrel Patterson. He is the real deal. Tennessee will likely be 2-0 when a mediocre Florida team comes to Neyland Stadium in game three. Depending upon the outcome of the Gator's SEC opener at Texas A&M this week, the Vols could even be favored to win against Florida.
2. Was Georgia hiding something in their lackluster win over Buffalo Saturday? The Bulldogs scored plenty of points but gave up way too many points and yards against Buffalo, for a team supposedly possessing an elite SEC defensive unit. We'll see just how good the Georgia defense is this week as they play at SEC newcomer Missouri.
3. The Clemson Tigers didn't really surprise anyone with their win over Auburn on Saturday night in Atlanta, but to say the Tiger's defense has improved since being gutted for 70 points by West Virginia in the Orange Bowl last year, is a major understatement. The Clemson defense, under the direction of new coordinator Brent Venables, gave up some big plays, but they also made some big plays as well in a great opening win. (West Virginia almost scored 70 in back to back games as they crushed Marshall 69-34.)
4. Alabama is at least as good as advertised. I really thought the Crimson Tide's opener on a neutral site against Michigan would be much closer, but Alabama was in front 31-7 at halftime and cruised in neutral the rest of the way for a 41-14 win. It's still unclear if 'Bama will have the best team in college football this season, but there is no doubt that Coach Nick Saban has the best program in the game right now. Alabama played eight true freshman against the Wolverines.
5. No surprise at all in South Carolina's 17-14 win at Vandy Thursday night. We all knew it would be close, and while Vandy fans were hoping for James Franklin's team to score an upset of the Gamecocks, they found out in game one, it's hard to beat "The Ol' Ball Coach", Steve Spurrier.
6. Very few teams have ever been successful when they play two quarterbacks. UTC must make a decision soon on redshirt freshman Russ Huesman, or sophomore Terrell Robinson. They both played in last week's 31-13 loss at South Florida, and the task this week is especially tough as well. The Mocs play at OVC power Jacksonville State in a non-conference clash. Remember the old saying, "When you play two starting quarterbacks, you really don't have a starting quarterback." All in all though, the Mocs played very well at times.
7. The best player in week one? West Virginia's Gino Smith. Considered to be one of the favorites for the Heisman Trophy, Smith passed for 323 yards, completing 32 of 36 passes, with four td passes. Smith also rushed for 65 yards and a touchdown in the Mountaineers 69-34 win over Marshall.
Randy Smith firstname.lastname@example.org
Randy Smith has been covering sports in Tennessee for the last 43 years. After leaving WRCB-TV in 2009, he has continued his broadcasting career as a free-lance play-by-play announcer. He is also an author and is a media concepts teacher at Red Bank High School in Chattanooga. Randy Smith's career has included a 17-year stint as scoreboard host and pre-game talk show host on the widely regarded "Vol Network". He has also done play by play of more than 500 college football, basketball, baseball and softball games on ESPN, ESPN2, Fox Sports, CSS and Tennessee Pay Per View telecasts. He was selected as "Tennessee's Best Sports Talk Show Host" in 1998 by the Associated Press. He has won other major awards including, "Best Sports Story" in Tennessee and his "Friday Night Football" shows on WRCB-TV twice won "Best Sports Talk Show In Tennessee" awards. He has also been the host of "Inside Lee University Basketball" on CSS for the past 11 years. He was the first television broadcaster to ever be elected to the "Greater Chattanooga Area Sports Hall of Fame", in 2003. Randy and his wife, Shelia, reside in Hixson. They have two married children (Christi and Chris Perry; Davey and Alison Smith). They also have three grandchildren (Coleman, Boone, and DellaMae).