We got spoiled.
The first weekend of the college football season lived up to the hype. Upsets galore, Houston Cougars announcing their presence on the national stage, Texas schools dominating their competition.
After the dust settled, we were left with a week that saw far fewer upsets but one that continued to show that some of the things we witnessed the first Saturday weren’t just a fluke.
Here are my winners and losers this week:
Shane Buechele, QB, Texas Longhorns
A freshman is the Big Man on Campus in Austin. Yeah, that’s weird to say, but when you’re the quarterback of a team that hasn’t been ranked since 2013, and you do what Shane Buechele has done, then you’ve earned that title.
Buechele was great again in the 41-7 victory over UTEP: 244 yards and 4 touchdowns. What makes that even more impressive is that he was without two starters on the offensive line, and he got sacked three times. But Daniel, it’s UTEP. Yeah, and Shane is still a freshman. His poise is what really stands out. He realizes that he’s got playmakers, just let them go get it.
"I felt good out there," Buechele said after the game. "We started slow but I feel like we finished strong...I like throwing the ball to all these guys."
Competition will get better, but Texas has a fighter at signal caller.
Jalen Hurts, QB, Alabama Crimson Tide
Speaking of first-year players, how about the pride of Channelview High School and now Alabama quarterback Jalen Hurts?
First of all, he’s a freshman quarterback in the best program in the country. That just doesn’t happen. Not only is he playing, but he’s lighting kids up. This past week against Western Kentucky, he was 23 of 36 for 286 yards and 2 touchdowns (19 rushing yards, too). That followed up a break-out performance against USC (4 total touchdowns).
Jalen grew up in a football family. His father was his high school coach, and his brother plays at Texas Southern. When we honored him as Athlete of the Week last year, he told me he expected to go to Tuscaloosa and win a job. That’s some confidence. UH head coach Tom Herman was asked on Monday if he recruited Hurts. The answer? “Very hard."
Terrance Peters, RB, Houston Baptist Huskies
I love seeing local kids succeed at the next level, especially at places like Houston Baptist.
Just like Hurts, when we honored Peters as our Athlete of the Week several seasons back when he was at Stratford, not many colleges gave him a shot. Houston Baptist did, and when I asked him about that, he had a huge smile on his face.
Well, he’s rewarding Vic Shealy now. Against Texas Southern, he picked up 155 yards and 2 touchdowns leading the Huskies to their first win in 2016, 24-20. He’s quick, he elusive, but also, he’s very smart. Hard work really does pay off, and Terrance is proof.
Honorable Mentions: UH defense (10 punts, 1 fumble forced vs Lamar), Texas A&M offense (672 total yds vs PVAMU), Baylor defense (4 turnovers forced, 2 INTs in endzone), Patrick Mahomes II, QB, Texas Tech (584 total yds, 6 total touchdowns)
Texas Tech Defense
You know, I’m not even sure you can call what the Red Raiders did on Saturday at Arizona State “defense." They looked like bull fighters -- lots of ole moments.
They gave up 66 points (the other two points aren’t on them; Sun Devils picked up a safety). 66 points?!?! Keep looking at the box score, and it was even worse. 652 total yards allowed, 301 of them on the ground. Look, one thing is to get beat over the top. A good quarterback will light you up. In fact, Patrick Mahomes II did that to ASU. But when you’re giving up that much in the running game, you’re REALLY getting whipped. They allowed ONE PLAYER to score 8 touchdowns and gave up 6 straight touchdown drives. That’s laughable stuff.
Defensive coordinator David Gibbs left UH a couple of years ago and went to Lubbock. His success stayed here, though.
This was a tough one to put on here. As head coach David Bailiff has said through the first two weeks, it’s not about effort. These Rice kids play harder than maybe anyone else in the state. But the offense is having trouble getting out of neutral.
“We have young men trying so hard that we’re making way too many mistakes. We have to find a way to get their confidence back,” Bailiff said on Monday.
The Owls only managed 289 yards of offense against Army. The week before against WKU? 291. The first week, it was drops. The second was bad routes.
“You have to do your responsibility before you go help somebody, but you can’t go help somebody first,” Bailiff said.
The senior leadership had a meeting after the game. For them, it starts with better practice. It doesn’t get easier: Baylor is up next.
There’s nothing quite like getting up in the morning for an 11 a.m. kickoff, getting to the stadium, going through drills, getting fired up, running out of the tunnel, fans screaming, playing half a quarter and then POOF! Mother Nature decides she had enough.
I felt terrible for the Houston Cougars on Saturday. A 3-and-a-half-hour rain delay in a game against a team they were going to beat easily. Instead, they had to sit around and wait until it all cleared.
Tom Herman said there was only so much “football talk” you can have with them. To the players' credit, though, they begged their coach not to cancel the game. They wanted to play. Well, when they did, they let out their frustrations on poor Lamar.
Honorable mention: Northwestern football (this is my alma mater, they lost to FCS opponent Illinois State...0-2. It’s been awful. They might be playing a different sport than everyone else).
Live look at my alma mater pic.twitter.com/r5EyN05U0D— Daniel Gotera (@DTGoteraKHOU) September 10, 2016
Looking ahead…I can already tell you about one of my losers:Thursday and Friday night games. So ridiculous. JUST PLAY EVERYTHING ON SATURDAY!
But, ratings are great and that means more money. And plus, what else are we doing?
See you next week.
(© 2016 KHOU)