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jones Top Ten - Week One 2011 - Labor Day Edition

Any man who ponders a small plastic toy from McDonald’s while children chase each other through enormous plastic tubes resides in the full throes of adulthood. So I hold Greedy Smurf. He smiles. But this doesn’t strike me as the mean-spirited smile of avarice. Greedy Smurf doesn’t look sinister. More whimsical, almost generous, which would seem to undermine the character. It’s possible, of course, that I misread Greedy Smurf and that this gaze is the ugly smile of self-satisfaction. Or perhaps he is just a little blue man who enjoys having lots of options.

Boise State 35
Georgia 21

Boise State’s not sinister, nor did they completely dominate Georgia (although the game was over when the Broncos went up 35-14 in the fourth). They are just better. Better than an established, if underachieving, SEC squad with plenty of talent to throw at them. Did I mention Georgia was playing practically at home? We can complain about Boise’s schedule all we want, but the canard about lacking athletes is growing stale. The Broncs have narrowed the gap; this is not all smoke and mirrors. Left Tackle Nate Potter and DT Billy Winn could play for anyone and so could many of their teammates. Means. Motive. Opportunity.

Boise State was even without the services of two starters and a reserve from the Netherlands because, well, I don’t know, the NCAA hates the Dutch?

Meanwhile, the game everyone circled turned ugly. Oregon simply couldn’t hang on to the football and yielded center stage to LSU during an atrociously played third quarter. I remember back to Oregon’s season-opening disaster against Boise State in 2009 (aka The LaGarrette Blount game), when folks wondered aloud if Chip Kelly knew what he was doing. Obviously he does now, but his team was a mess on Saturday. 40-27, LSU.

For LSU’s part, the Tigers were not simply given the game. Even absent Duck mistakes, LSU bottled up the Duck’s inside running game and ground up their front seven down the stretch. Jarrett Lee was nails. "Nails" in this case meaning he managed the game more than competently and avoided throwing a pick six. Not only is LSU a hard out, but with Tyrann Mathieu wearing number 7 and wreaking general havoc, it’s like Patrick Peterson is still on the field. Nick Saban may want to check dental records.

Oregon may still be one of the best ten teams in the nation. You know who isn’t? Notre Dame. Maybe I thought too much of the Irish, who went down to South Florida, 23-20 in a bizarre game suspended twice by the weather for nearly three total hours. To be fair, South Florida is very good. Good enough to have a legitimate shot at winning the…uhm…the…er…Big East. Right, that’s still a conference, isn’t it?

Steve Spurrier punished Stephen Garcia, the South Carolina fans and defenders of frat boy misbehavior worldwide by benching Garcia in the first quarter of the Gamecock opener against East Carolina. With ‘SC behind 17-0, Garcia put down his beer, entered the game and led his team to a 56-37 victory. This probably raises more questions than it answers about South Carolina’s worth. ECU ain’t so great. East Carolina is not even a state. It’s not. I looked it up.

Can we get past the "Auburn survives upset bid" storyline? Yes, it was a dramatic comeback to put away Utah State, 42-38, but:

A. Auburn should never have been ranked.
B. Utah State played Oklahoma right off their heels in last season’s opener.

The Pac 12 was miserable. In addition to Oregon’s mess, Oregon State managed to lose to Sacramento State and the rest of the conference didn’t fare much better. USC did hold off Minnesota, 19-17.

Michigan State beat Youngstown State 28-6 and it was about as exciting as you might guess. Missouri never really clicked in a 17-6 win over Miami-Ohio.

Oklahoma State totaled 666 yards of total offense, which concerns me because wouldn’t Satan dress like Mike Gundy if he returned to Earth? The Cowboys dropped a cool 61 on Lafayette and gave up a less cool 34, with two Cajun TDs coming on pick sixes.

Brigham Young and Ole Miss were two teams I liked as potential dark horses when the season started. Naturally, they put on a deplorable exhibition on Saturday won by a BYU fumble recovery in the end zone for a 14-13 escape.

I have a number of Southern Baptists in my family. They define certain verbs very precisely: what it means to be saved, what it means to be called…what it means to choke away a huge game in front of the truly faithful.

In the end, Baylor didn’t do that, finally putting away TCU 50-47. The story is not that Baylor won (Baylor’s not a bad team), or that TCU lost (TCU has some holes), or that Robert Griffin III is a remarkable athlete (everyone paying attention knows this), or even that Baylor squandered a 24-point lead. The story is that TCU gave up 50 points in a single evening, and Baylor didn’t work particularly hard for about 41 of them.

Texas A&M jumped on SMU early and then slowly beat the life out of the Mustangs, 46-14. The Aggies looked in mid-season form by the second half. The Southern Money fans salved their wounds with Hendrick’s Gin and some selections from the new Ralph Lauren fall collection.

Texas Tech fell behind Texas State (not a mythical school) 10-9 at the half. Then Tech beat them senseless, 50-10. Sometimes we need to be reminded that it takes the machinery a little while to warm up in the early season.

Texas beat Rice 34-9. I’ll go out on a limb and say Texas is better than they were last year. Beyond that, no promises.

I’m Kern Tips, and that concludes This Week in the Southwest Conference.

Week one means it is time to bring back the cumulative domination contest. This week, Oklahoma, Alabama, Florida State, Stanford, Nebraska, Virginia Tech, Arkansas, Ohio State and Florida scored 426 points.

Tulsa, Kent State, Louisiana Monroe, San Jose State, Chattanooga, Appalachian State, Missouri State, Akron, Florida Atlantic and Cadwallada scored 54 points. Assuming my math is correct. And even if it isn’t.

West Virginia beat Marshall on Sunday, 34-13 in a game called early due to a dangerous lightning storm (Michigan’s Saturday win over Western Michigan was also called early, crazy day). I watched the game before the weather rolled in and was distracted by the stadium ads for the touring show of South Pacific coming to the West Virginia campus. Is this the target audience? Because nothing says a quaint evening of musical theatre quite like a room full of Mountaineer football fans.

ESPN picked two excellent teams to open the season on Thursday: Wisconsin and Mississippi State. They didn’t play each other, of course. That would be crazy. Wisky 51, UNLV 17 and MSU 59, Memphis 14.

If Miami and Maryland do anything interesting tonight, you won’t read about it here.

Impressive Showing of the Week: Robert Griffin III’s Third Eye Chakra and Positive Life Energy, either that or Boise State

1. LSU

2. Alabama

3. Florida State

4. Oklahoma

5. Wisconsin

6. Arkansas

7. Boise State

8. South Carolina

9. Texas A&M

10. Oregon with Cliff Harris on the field, but not without him

Lee Roy Selmon was one of the most dominating football players during the time when I grew to love college football as a small boy. You never forget those larger than life figures, especially when they play for your rival school in all the big television games and Bob Hope introduces them on his Christmas special. Selmon is dead at 56. Grace and Peace to the Selmons from this Texas fan.