Time's a wastin', and this is a holiday, after all.
Week One was a hodgepodge of what we expected (Ohio State looked really good), what we didn't expect (Montana State/Richmond/Portland State??), and what we couldn't have expected (most thought Tennessee would win, but huh?).
With that in mind, this week's roundtable is centered on your expectations versus the reality of Week One. Oh, and where do we go from here? Who does that dude who voted for Cal vote for #1 now?
1. What team best met your overall expectations of them in their opener?
In other words, which team that you expected to be either really good or really bad (or somewhere in between) came the closest to making you look good?
As an example, it's Notre Dame for me. I think they're really good, but Georgia Tech isn't the toughest team they'll face this year. In fact, they're not even close. The game really typified the kind of season I expect Notre Dame to have. They'll blow some people out, but they're going to have a lot of struggles in various games, and they will lose a game at some point, because they're just not that much better than everyone else.
(PostScript #1: Yes, I thought Notre Dame would lose. And they only won because Reggie Ball struggles with this "consistently accurate" concept. If Ball were two-thirds as accurate with his throws as Brady Quinn usually is, Notre Dame would be 0-1.)
(PostScript #2: If you are a Notre Dame opponent, get after Brady Quinn. He looked a bit lost at times when Tech got aggressive, and it's the best way to beat him, because you're probably not going to confuse him very often.)
2. What team jumped off the map and surprised you the most? (Bonus points to anyone who can make an argument for someone besides Tennessee.)
Tennessee is the obvious answer here, because of the opponent (Cal) and the score (yes, the final was 35-18, but it was 35-3 when Phil called off the dogs).
I'm going with USC. Not because Lou Holtz REALLY liked Arkansas, but because I thought they'd struggle, if only just a little bit. What the Trojans did on Saturday was simply remarkable. John David Booty was Palmerinart-esque, and the offense was better than anyone could have fairly expected. They weren't as wide-open and potentially spectacular, though that will probably come with time. Instead, they used the cliche-ish surgical precision to carve up the Hogs' defense.
Instead of moving Houston Nutt further towards the Hot Seat, this game only established USC as a threat to take another national title. Nutt has all season to move himself toward the seat.
3. What team best moved themselves into a position to surprisingly contend for a national title?
This is where I'll go with Tennessee. The Vols need to run the ball better, because not everyone is going to let Eric Ainge pick them apart like Cal did. But the defense was flying around the field, disrupting QB Nate Longshore and putting an early end to Marshawn Lynch's darkhorse H*i*m*n candidacy. Ainge and Robert Meacham were outstanding, but there is still work to be done here. Air Force shouldn't pose much of a challenge for the offense next week, though the Vols' defense could have issues defending that offense, which is unlike any they'll see all year.
Keep in mind that this team was 5-6 last year. I'm not a Phil Fulmer fan, but he can really cement his legacy in Knoxville with a huge season this year, national title or not.