Misery Loves Company

It was a tough first weekend for the Buff Nation, as Colorado fell to Hawai’i, 28-20, in the early hours of Friday morning.

As it turned out, though, it was a tough weekend for some other teams across the nation, including teams in the Pac-12.

While Buff fans lick their wounds from yet another stinging defeat, let’s check in with some commentators across the nation, to see how they are handling unexpected first weekend losses:

 

… Pullman, Washington … Portland State 24, Washington State 17 …

From the Spokane Spokesman-Review … Head coach Mike Leach and athletic director Bill Moos have stated that the current team is the most talented since Leach was hired in 2012, and presumably much more so than in the few years immediately preceding the hire.

Many involved with the program have stated that, because this year’s team was almost entirely recruited by Leach, the camaraderie and buy-in were at the highest levels anyone could remember.

But those improvements were limited to the practice field for at least the first week of WSU’s 2015 campaign. The Cougars christened the season on Saturday with a 24-17 home loss to Portland State, a team that they beat by 38 points one year ago.

Here is a link to the social media reaction to the loss …

 

… Lawrence, Kansas … South Dakota State 41, Kansas 38 …

From the Kansas City Star … If a loss to a program from a lower division could ever be termed as encouraging, well, this could perhaps qualify. But then again, that is setting a low bar for the Kansas program …

Columnist Blair Kerkhoff … This was not a dumpster-fire loss, and that’s how Kansas football progress is measured these days.

The Jayhawks dropped their opener for the reason teams lose games. They committed two turnovers in the first half and both led to short-field touchdowns by South Dakota State, which went on to win 41-38.

That makes Saturday’s bottom line a terrible outcome for Kansas in coach David Beaty’s debut and, based on a schedule perusal, eliminates the best chance for a victory in 2015.

… It could have been much worse. Falling behind 31-7 less than 3 minutes in the second quarter put this on track to be the most embarrassing of the Jayhawks’ 599 losses in 126 seasons.

 

… Cheyenne, Wyoming … North Dakota 24, Wyoming 13 …

From Wyo Sports … Let the disappointment and overreaction begin.

Most University of Wyoming football fans didn’t expect both to start after the first game of the season.

But they did after the Cowboys lost 24-13 to Football Championship Series foe North Dakota in front of 23,669 fans Saturday at Jonah Field at War Memorial Stadium.

Some of the first words uttered by second-year coach Craig Bohl in his postgame news conference with the media summed up the afternoon.

“We got beat by a better team,” he said.

… Nashville, Tennessee … Western Kentucky 14, Vanderbilt 12 …

From the Tennessean … Earlier this week, Vanderbilt second-year coach Derek Mason called Thursday’s season-opening game against Western Kentucky “a statement game for both teams.”

So, exactly what statement did the Commodores make in their 14-12 loss to the visiting Hilltoppers?

That they can play strong defense for most of three quarters, but can’t stop WKU when it mattered most?

That their offense can’t overcome penalties and can’t complete drives?

“Our football team gave themselves an opportunity to win, but you can’t turn the ball over twice in the red zone, missed field goal … our defense had a couple of lapses,” Mason said. “You got to make plays when the opportunity presents itself.”

Yes, it was a frustrating opener for the West End faithful …

… Evanston, Illinois … Northwestern 16, No. 21 Stanford 6 …

From the San Jose Mercury News … Stanford’s season began Saturday with a thud so resounding it echoed all the way back to last fall.

The Cardinal sputtered through a stunning 16-6 loss to Northwestern at Ryan Field that marked its lowest scoring total in eight years, an inept performance reminiscent of those that derailed the 2014 season.

Favored by 12 points and facing an opponent not known for stout defense, No. 21 Stanford failed to score a touchdown, struggled to run the ball, produced one play longer than 20 yards and repeatedly misfired on the basics.

If not for an impressive showing by the rebuilt defense — its only major breakdown: a 42-yard touchdown run by Northwestern quarterback Clayton Thorson — the Cardinal might have been bulldozed into Lake Michigan …

… Philadelphia … Temple 27, Penn State 10 …

From the Penn State Daily Collegian … The United States had not yet entered World War II the last time Temple defeated Penn State.

But for the first time since 1941, the Owls upset the Nittany Lions, 27-10.

Penn State jumped out to a 10-0 lead, but after a season-ending knee injury to middle linebacker Nyeem Wartman-White, the momentum shifted toward the Owls.

Lions quarterback Christian Hackenberg was sacked 10 times in the team’s losing effort …

 

… South Bend, Indiana … Notre Dame 38, Texas 3 …

From the Austin Statesman … The refrain coming out of Texas’ summer camp was consistent the entire month of August.

The Longhorns were showing progress. They were stronger, smarter, more physical. They’d learned from their mistakes of 2014 and were intent upon not repeating them. The quarterback had won over his team. This promised to be one of the most athletic freshman classes in recent memory.

Barely 15 minutes into the new season, they rang hollow.

By that time, Notre Dame had fashioned a 14-0 lead and, but for a false start, might have gone ahead by three touchdowns. It was academic. The early dominance by the 11th-ranked Irish never stopped as Texas fell and fell hard, dropping a humiliating 38-3 game for its second-most lopsided loss in a season-opener in school history and its worst since 1988.

… “We are a better football team than what we showed,” a distraught, somber Strong said.

So prove it, Charlie. Quickly.

For the first time in his 14-game tenure, the notion occurs that Strong just might not be equipped to get this thing on track. The program’s clearly broken after yet another demoralizing defeat on top of the two embarrassments against TCU and Arkansas to mercifully end last season — three Texas games, 20 total points — and who knows if Strong can fix it.

Sometimes a program has to hit rock bottom, and hopefully Texas has. But there are no guarantees of that. You wonder if the Longhorns, picked to finish fifth in the Big 12, have slumped to the eighth best team in their own state behind Baylor, TCU, Texas A&M, Houston, Rice, UTSA and Baylor’s second team …

 

… Houston … Texas A&M 38, No. 15 Arizona State 17 …

From azcentral.com … For the past three years, Arizona State’s offense hasn’t always looked pretty, but for the most part it worked. The Sun Devils moved the ball, ranking among the nation’s top 20 scoring offenses all three seasons.

In Saturday’s AdvoCare Texas Kickoff, they looked nothing of the sort.

Senior quarterback Mike Bercovici had little time to throw, his receivers dropped too many passes and the No. 15 Sun Devils never found much of a rhythm, falling 38-17 to Texas A&M at NRG Stadium.

“Wasn’t a good offensive night for anybody,” ASU coach Todd Graham said.

ASU’s big picture: It’s only one game. Its Pac-12 championship hopes still are firmly intact. The short picture: This team has offensive issues to resolve.

 

… Lincoln, Nebraska … BYU 33, Nebraska 28 …

From the Lincoln Journal-Star … Nebraska football fans are acutely familiar with this stuff by now — the ebbs and flows and moments of soaring joy and searing pain that are inherent in the game they adore.

They’ve experienced the gamut over the years, especially recent years.

They fully understand that transitions from one coaching staff to the next can be eventful, and painful.

But this was ridiculous.

The Mike Riley era opened Saturday with a loss on … don’t try to tell me you predicted this … a Hail Mary.

I hope Husker fans are full of grace.

“It was a heck of a play they made,” said Nebraska offensive coordinator Danny Langsdorf. “You got that pit in your stomach. But we shouldn’t have been in that position.”

He’s right. Nebraska lost because it couldn’t do what so many great Husker teams never had a problem doing. That is, converting on third-and-short. The Huskers in the fourth quarter failed on two third-and-1s and a third-and-3. Three runs, no dice.

Those failures ultimately led to BYU’s wing and a prayer, which was answered when backup quarterback Tanner Mangum’s 40-plus-yard heave was snatched in the front of the end zone by 6-foot-6 Mitch Mathews with no time left …

… But to lose on a Hail Mary? To begin an era?

“Am I supposed to make an opening statement after that?” Riley asked reporters in the postgame news conference.

Nah, no statement needed. The day was long and hard enough.

 

… Yes, indeed. The day was long enough and hard enough for half of the teams which played this weekend. Some teams expected to lose and fared better than they thought they would (like Texas San-Antonio, which only lost to No. 22 Arizona, 42-32), while others were shocked to lose to a lesser foe.

Like Colorado, though, almost all of those teams which lost this weekend will get a shot at redemption this weekend.

We’ll see how it goes …

One Reply to “Misery Loves Company”

  1. the ASU comments are ridiculous!!!! they act like they’re the worst team in College football. i would trade in our ten seasons of losing for the recent ASU Seasons any day for CU to have. nationally ranked, bowl games year in and year out, 4 star recruits with a few 5 stars as well as colorado’s top talent. its hilarious actually!!!

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