Did you get into that first weekend following ACC football, Orange Nation?
It was long.
Mine started at 12:30 Saturday, when my alma mater Maryland kicked off — then kicked butt, putting up 40 points in the first half, thank you for coming back so ready from that ACL tear, QB C.J. Brown — and didn’t end until Labor Day evening, when Pittsburgh was welcomed into the league with tread marks up its back from Florida State’s latest big thing, redshirt freshman QB Jameis Winston. Seminole land already is crowing how Jameis rhymes with famous.
It was exciting.
I also caught Clemson’s excited troops running down the hill in Death Valley through the parted crowd and then holding on to edge fifth-ranked SEC heavyweight Georgia. Pretty cool tradition there, right? And a solid start for Clemson’s Heisman Trophy candidate, quarterback Tajh Boyd. If you haven’t picked up those tickets for the Oct. 5 ACC opener for the Orange against Boyd and mates in the Carrier Dome, what are you waiting for? That’s the kind of big-time football that will rock the dome, right?
I still think so. Watching Syracuse’s opening defeat to Penn State in Met Life Stadium smack in the middle of my Saturday didn’t make me give up hope that there could be good things coming in Scott Shafer’s first year as head coach.
Sure, there were more than a few Orange glitches during Nittany Lions’ 23-17 victory.
First-time QB Drew Allen was OK in his debut after transferring in from Oklahoma. He looked steady and cool at times, and hit one nice downfield bomb to Jeremiah Kobena that raised hopes.
The running game is supposed to be this season’s strong point, but Penn State didn’t let either Jerome Smith or Prince-Tyson Gulley really get the momentum going.
But still, Syracuse had the ball with a couple minutes left and the chance to put together a winning drive. It ended with Allen throwing an interception, sure, but I liked the toughness, the moxie, the intangibles.
Tough game coming up Saturday, on the road vs. Northwestern, the Wildcats coming off an impressive 44-30 road victory over Cal.
A couple of quick questions:
Would you rather have opened ACC play in week one, like Pittsburgh, or is it OK to have four non-league games under the Orange belts before that Clemson league opener in the dome?
And, aren’t you glad you aren’t in the AAC, where Connecticut opened its season with a 33-18 loss to FCS squad Towson?