STEPHEN MORTON — The Associated Press
The long wait is over. No more preseason prognostications or projections.
The time has come to judge teams, not by what's on paper, but what they do on the field.
If you're like me, you couldn't wait for college football season to get here.
When South Carolina and North Carolina lined up Thursday evening in Columbia, they officially ushered in the first college football weekend of the 2013 season. And given the Labor Day holiday, it was a long weekend.
Here are some things I found interesting in Week 1. It's hard to imagine the game USC's Jadeveon Clowney would have needed to have against North Carolina to live up to all his offseason hype. And it's fair to say his three-tackle, no-sack performance in the Gamecocks' 27-10 win didn't come close.
Since the game, he's taken a beating from the same people in the press that built him up. But while Clowney looked tired (it WAS 94 degrees at game time) and appeared to take plays off, people should know better than to pile on.
I've got a hunch if you ask Georgia players a week from now how they feel about Clowney, there won't be any nonsense about him being out of shape. Moments prior to kickoff of the matchup between Texas A&M and Rice, the Aggies announced that six members of the team had been suspended, including four defensive starters for two games.
Two games. Someone want to tell me what you have to do at Texas A&M to get a two-game suspension?
Johnny Manziel, depending on how you look at it, either blatantly walked all over NCAA rules or had a soft spot in his heart during the offseason for sports memorabilia dealers. He sat for a half.
But two games? Indictments must be coming down. Speaking of Manziel, it's good to see he's in no hurry to grow up. He's content to be an innocent kid for a while. (The previous two sentences have been brought to you by sarcasm.)
There are some folks hoping that in a couple of weeks, Alabama, still stinging from last year's loss to Johnny Football and the Aggies, helps Manziel sort out his feelings. Speaking of Alabama, the Crimson Tide may be No. 1 in the polls and the favorite to win it all, but after watching the opener in Atlanta against Virginia Tech, it's not hard to see how someone could sneak up and beat them.
It's the same tough Alabama defense, but the offense was dreadful, accounting for just 206 yards. Of course the Tide won going away anyway, 35-10, thanks largely to two special teams scores by Christion Jones.
Maybe it'll be LSU that dethrones the champs, but I know I don't expect it to be Texas A&M. As for Virginia Tech, how long is Logan Thomas going to be allowed to masquerade as a Division I quarterback? And when will we admit that Frank Beamer's special teams haven't been special in quite awhile? The Saturday night battle between No. 5 Georgia and No. 8 Clemson in Death Valley lived up to its hype, though it was really quite a sloppy game. Both defenses gave up a lot.
But the Bulldogs came out of the scrum with their backs to the walls. They have the poor fortune to face No. 6 South Carolina and a motivated Clowney this Saturday and LSU soon after. A second loss would likely end any national title hopes Georgia had and seriously dampen the Bulldogs' SEC prospects, as well. I learned two things by watching Monday night's ACC battle between Florida State and Pittsburgh.
First, Seminoles freshman quarterback Jameis Winston is going to dominate the inferior teams in the ACC. Second, in its conference debut, Pitt cemented its place as another inferior team in the ACC. And finally, ...
Go ahead, schedule an FCS school for your opener next season. Do it. I dare you.