We Are Marshall was a movie that came out in 2006. It depicts the aftermath of the 1970 plane crash that killed 37 football players on the Marshall University Thundering Herd football team, along with five coaches, two athletic trainers, the athletic director, 25 boosters, and a crew of five. It also addresses the rebuilding of the program and the healing that the community undergoes. (Taken from Wikipedia).
There is a scene in the movie where the team is about to take the field for the 1st time since the plane crash. Coach Jack Lengyel, played by Matthew McConaughey says:
“When you take that field today, you’ve got to lay that heart on the line, men. From the soles of your feet, with every ounce of blood you got in your body, lay it on the line until the final whistle blows. And if you do that… if you do that, we cannot lose.”
With the new playoff format, (only 4 teams qualify to play for the National Championship), every game means something. All coaches could use this speech, to motivate their players.
Here are 5 Things the Sports Whisperer learned about week 1 in College Football.
5) #23 Texas has 99 problems and defense is one of them.
Under Charlie Strong, Texas finished 6-7,5-7 and 5-7. Strong was never accepted in Texas and they fired him after three seasons. Former Houston head coach Tom Herman, is now on the sidelines but the results are the same. In their 2017 home opener Texas lost to unranked Maryland 51-41. It was the most point the Terrapins have ever scored against a ranked opponent. This was a terrible loss for a coach and team that is looking to get back to respectability. No disrespect to Maryland but since 2011 their record has been 2-10, 4-8,7-6, 7-6, 3-9 and 6-7. Elite teams can’t lose at home to the Terrapins. Herman will do a good job, he is a very good recruiter but this program is 2 years away from a top 10 team…minimum.
4) Can #5 Clemson get to a 3rd straight National Championship?
Two seasons ago, Clemson lost to Alabama in the title game, 45-40. Last year, they defeated Bama in the final seconds 35-31. Gone are a ton of players to graduation and the NFL. To Clemson’s credit,they look just as good as they did last season. On Saturday, they hammered a terrible Kent State team 56-3. This was just a small sample size but quarterback Kelly Bryant appears to be the “real deal” Bryant is 6’4, 220 lbs. and runs a 4.4 40-yard dash. It is almost impossible to replace a legend. QB, Deshaun Watson will go down as one of the greatest to ever play at Clemson. Bryant should have a very good season. In his first start he was 16-22 for 236 yards and rushed for 77 yards and two total touchdowns. He did all this and only played about two and half quarters. Dabo Swinney has built one of the best programs in the country. Clemson has now won 29 of their last 31 games. The Tigers have won 10 or more games for 6 years in a row. That is second to Alabama’s 9 straight years of 10 or more wins. Florida State quarterback Deondre Francois left the Alabama game with a knee injury and is now out for the year. Clemson will win the ACC again and get to the Final Four for a 3rd straight year.
As a former coach, I was absolutely appalled at the Kent State game plan. They didn’t throw the ball once in the 1st half. When you are a massive underdog, you must be aggressive instead of not playing to lose. The entire staff should be embarrassed. They went into Clemson and were beyond conservative although they had nothing to lose and everything to win.
3) The #1 ranked Crimson Tide, Rolls over #3 Florida State 24-7.
For the first time in the history of college football a #1 ranked team, (Alabama) faced a #3 ranked team (Florida State) in the opening week of the college season. In my preview article, I wrote that Nick Saban would out coach Jimbo Fisher and I was accurate. The Crimson Tide special teams dominated with a blocked punt and blocked field goal. Saban’s team never beat themselves. They are the New England Patriots of college football. They are always prepared and rarely make mental mistakes. Alabama is the only team in college football that can beat you 13-10 or outscore a team 41-38. Saban is the master of quarter to quarter and half to half adjustments. They will cruise to another final four appearance. FSU quarterback Deondre Francois was 19 for 33 with 2 interceptions before he left the game with a season ending injury. FSU has enough talent to win 9 games without their starting quarterback but their national championships dreams are over.
2) #11 Michigan gets a big win over #17 Florida 33-17.
Michigan quarterback Wilton Speight threw two pick sixes in the 2nd quarter but bounced back to help lead his team to an impressive victory over a depleted Florida Gators team. He didn’t play well, but Speight’s showed signs during the game that he can be a Big 10 quarterback. Ty Isaac rushed for 141 yards to help carry the load. I don’t think Michigan will be a Top 5 team at the end of the year but Freshman Tarik Black is going to be an absolute stud at the WR position. He caught two passes for 83 yards and 1 touchdown. Coach Jim Harbaugh needs to get him ten touches per game, minimum. As for Florida, they entered the game with 10 players suspended. I can’t remember the last time the Gators had an offense that actually scared people… Tim Tebow? Head coach, Jim McElwain has got to get control of his team. There is no way, 10 players should be suspended at the start of your third year running a program. Get control coach!
#1 UCLA wins in shocking fashion over Texas A&M.
In what might be the game of the year, the UCLA Bruins came back from 34 points down to defeat Texas A&M at home, 45-44. UCLA was down 38-10 at halftime and some fans left the game midway through the 3rd quarter. Bruins quarterback, Josh Rosen, threw for 491 yards with 4 touchdowns. UCLA outscored A&M 28-0 in the fourth quarter.
Both coaches, Jim L. Mora and Kevin Sumlin were on the “hot-seat.” coming into this game. Unless things turn around for both defensively, I can’t see either one being on the sidelines next season.
The Sports Whisperer’s Top 5 Heisman Rankings… will change week to week.
#5 USC Running Back Ronald Jones II…18 carries 159 yards 3 touchdowns .
#4 Clemson Quarterback Kelly Bryant… Over 300 combined yards in just over 2 ½ quarters two touchdowns.
#3 Penn State Running Back Saquon Barkely… Over 200 combined yards and 2 touchdowns.
#2 Louisville Quarterback Lamar Jackson… 485 total yards 2 touchdowns.
#1 Oklahoma Quarterback Baker Mayfield…19/20 329 yards 3 touchdowns.
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