The Trap Game: An Opinion Column
by Levi Dunagan
College football made a triumphant return to our lives over the weekend. The opening week didn’t disappoint and the number of people jumping from bandwagon to bandwagon is impossible. Auburn is the worst. Wait, maybe Auburn is the best? Alabama can’t be stopped, but maybe they can? Every single team is overrated and, at the same time, every single team is vastly underrated. How do we make sense of all this?
The key storyline from the opening week was the debut of new quarterbacks throughout the country. The most impressive performance belonged to Josh Rosen of UCLA. He displayed a lot of poise and looked incredibly efficient. The Bruins stomped the Virginia Cavaliers and Rosen was the main reason why. I was also impressed by Jake Coker (Alabama), Lamar Jackson (Louisville), and Malik Zaire (Notre Dame).
The Texas Longhorns looked like a total disaster. I can’t imagine what they did to prepare for this game. It’s difficult to watch a team that totals 163 offensive yards. The Longhorns have no offensive identity and this season is going to be rough. I don’t know what the problem is here. I do know, however, that something is broken and I don’t know if it can be fixed this year. The gap between Texas and the other major programs in the state has never been larger.
John Chavis looks like the best defensive hire (yes, even better than the much more publicized Will Muschamp hire) after week one. The Aggies showed a lot of improvement. Arizona State averaged 37 points per game last season and around 440 yards per game. The Aggies gave up only 291 yards and recorded a ridiculous nine sacks! The Aggies passed their opening test with flying colors and Myles Garrett looks like a potential top pick in the 2017 NFL Draft.
Braxton Miller made his debut in Ohio State’s receiving corps (occasionally in the backfield) and impressed. He made a great catch on a low pass and looked fairly comfortable at receiver. He had a two pivotal touchdowns in the 3rd quarter. Ohio State leaned on him to create momentum and he delivered (just like he has over the course of his career there). Miller finished the game with 62 yards rushing and 78 yards receiving. He totaled 140 yards on only eight touches and scored two touchdowns. I would say that’s a solid start.
I was disappointed in the Wisconsin Badgers this weekend. I understand they played Alabama and it was going to be a difficult game. I thought they played incredibly hard defensively and the coaching staff let the players down. The offense was predictable and incredibly conservative. The Badgers seemed like they were hoping for a close loss most of the game. The running game was stifled and Alabama loaded the box. Wisconsin didn’t try to stretch the field and the game was over when the Badgers trailed 21-7.
The Auburn Tigers offense stumbled this week and that’s mostly due to an underwhelming performance by Jeremy Johnson. I thought the Auburn defense bailed out the offense on several occasions. Johnson’s mistakes are fixable and he didn’t do anything to make me doubt the talent he possesses. He did, however, serve as a reminder that great expectations based upon limited playing time are a fickle business. He finished the game 11 for 21 passing with one touchdown and three interceptions. The Tigers still lead 31-10 and controlled the game for the most part.
Penn State got hammered over the weekend and Christian Hackenburg looked pathetic. I don’t understand how he’s viewed by NFL scouts. I can’t imagine a guy with the same accuracy issues being viewed so positively by scouts. I am not saying he’ll never find success in the NFL or anything to that extreme. I just think he’s an underwhelming player who has only thrown 32 touchdowns to 26 interceptions (and has serious accuracy issues).