DEL OLALEYE

Week 1 college football around the country recap

Former Aggies coach Kevin Sumlin got off to a slow start with his new team in Arizona. Bob Levey/Getty Images

The Games have Begun

Football coaches generally like to fall back on the 24/48 hour rule when talking about moving on after a big victory or a bad loss. That rule doesn’t apply to fans. Winning a big game will get you through the work week, while losing that game makes you want to hide from the sports world until your team takes the field again. In my case, using Netflix to hide from the college football world was the play this weekend. Nothing like watching your favorite team who was ranked in the top 10 be taken behind the woodshed by a “lesser opponent” It can change your whole perspective on the season. Enough about me or this will turn into a therapy session.

The Edwards and Sumlin tenures begin Arizona

Maybe Herm Edwards won’t be the disaster we all thought he would be on the college level. A comfortable 49-7 win over UTSA by his Arizona State team doesn’t change the potential trajectory of Edwards’ tenure but the Roadrunners weren’t terrible last year and the Sun Devils handled them with ease. That result by itself isn’t a national story but it is interesting that on the same night Kevin Sumlin’s tenure at Arizona got off to a very different start. The long time college head coach saw his Wildcats lose at home to BYU. Traditionally, BYU would be considered a tougher opponent than UTSA but BYU struggled quite a bit last year. BYU was 4-9 in 2017 and going into the game Arizona had a dark horse Heisman candidate in quarterback Khalil Tate. None of that mattered on Saturday as Tate and Arizona’s offense never got going and Sumlin’s Arizona tenure began with a 28-23 loss in Tucson.

The Four Playoff Teams from 2017 all roll

Alabama: They were the only one of the four to face a Power 5 school but they made Louisville look like Florida Atlantic. The Age of Tua has begun as Alabama went up and down the field with Tagovailoa leading the offense. Nick Saban decided to finally do what everyone had been predicting since last January. He named Tua Tagovailoa the starter.

Clemson: Kelly Bryant started for Clemson and he looked like the Kelly Bryant we saw last year. At least the Kelly Bryant that didn’t have to play Alabama. He was effective and efficient. Clemson’s phenom freshman quarterback Tyler Lawrence played in the first half with the first team offense and played well also. The opponent for the Tigers was Furman and the level of competition provided really did nothing to answer the quarterback questions at Clemson. With the Clemson quarterback drama all set to continue you can catch the next episode in College Station when the Tigers take on Texas A&M.

Georgia: They played Austin Peay. That’s all the space I’ll use on them.

Oklahoma: Kyler Murray took over for Baker Mayfield and the Sooners offense didn’t seem to notice while Lane Kiffin’s second season at FAU started much like his first. The Owls were blown out in the season opener last year by Navy. The beating they took from Oklahoma in Norman on Saturday had a different feel to it because of how well FAU finished last season. A 63-14 final was a bit surprising considering Lane Kiffin’s team won their final 10 games to close out the 2017 season. The Sooners weren’t impressed and Kyler Murray looked like a video game create-a-player in his first start. He reminded me of the early iterations of football games on game consoles against Florida Atlantic. In those games you could put a really fast player at quarterback and he would completely dominate the game with his athletic ability.  It didn’t hurt that Murray had Rodney Anderson to hand the ball of to either. Anderson may be the best back in the Big 12 and the one hundred yards he put up on just five carries was impressive.

Hate Watch Game of the Week: Florida vs Kentucky

Florida currently owns a 31-game winning streak over the Wildcats. If you’re an unbiased observer or just a fan of ending prolonged misery you should be rooting for Kentucky to go into The Swamp and the get the job done. If you’re like me and can’t stand the Gators, watching the Florida faithful freak out over their new coach losing at home to Kentucky is reason enough to hope the streak ends.

Current Hate Watch record: 1-0

Thanks to Virginia Tech’s defense and five turnovers by Florida State,  HWGOTW got off to a great start. Final Score: 24-3 Hokies over the Noles.

 

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Houston couldn't keep up

Astros fall to Blue Jays as Toronto gets homer-happy

Houston's bats couldn't keep up with Toronto's Saturday night. Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images

With an offensive clinic in the opener on Friday night, which helped them handily defeat the Blue Jays, the Astros returned to Minute Maid Park Saturday with a chance to secure another series. Toronto had other plans, though, reversing roles with Houston by getting big home runs to even the series.

Final Score: Blue Jays 8, Astros 4

Astros' Record: 17-16, third in the AL West

Winning Pitcher: Steven Matz (5-2)

Losing Pitcher: Cristian Javier (3-1)

Toronto flips the script and turns on their offense against Javier

Toronto flipped the script from the night before early in this middle game of the series, dealing damage to Cristian Javier, who so far in 2021 had been able to limit his amount of earned runs. After retiring the first four batters he faced, a one-out walk in the top of the second set up the Blue Jays' first hit of the night, a two-run home run by Cavan Biggio, giving them a 2-0 lead over Houston.

After a leadoff home run made it a 3-0 score, Javier would deal with the fallout of more walks in the top of the third, issuing two to set up a two-out two-RBI double to give the Jays a commanding 5-0 advantage. Javier would battle back and complete five full innings, getting one out into the sixth before a walk would prompt Dusty Baker to make the call to the bullpen. His final line: 5.1 IP, 4 H, 5 ER, 4 BB, 8 K, 2 HR, 91 P.

Alvarez keeps mashing as Houston tries to claw back into it

Javier would exit with at least some runs on the board in support of him, with Yordan Alvarez hitting a two-run opposite-field homer in the bottom of the fourth to cut the lead to three runs. Alvarez accounted for another run in the next inning, coming through with an RBI-single to make it 5-3, which is where the game stood as Andre Scrubb would take over in the top of the sixth.

Scrubb finished that inning for Javier and returned for a 1-2-3 seventh to keep it a two-run game. Bryan Abreu was the next reliever, and he, too, was able to retire the Blue Jays in order in the top of the eighth. The Astros continued to chip away at Toronto's lead, getting another run in the bottom of the inning on an RBI by Yuli Gurriel to make it 5-4 heading to the ninth.

Toronto evens the series

Brooks Raley entered to try and keep it a one-run game with a clean inning, but instead, two runners would reach on a walk and error before Joe Smith would enter to try and strand them. Instead, a two-out home run put the game back out of reach at 8-4, with Houston coming up empty in the bottom of the inning, setting up a rubber match in the finale.

Up Next: This series's third and final game will be an afternoon start of 1:10 PM Central on Sunday. Zack Greinke (2-1, 3.76 ERA) will try to add more wins to his record for Houston, while Nate Pearson will be making his 2021 debut for Toronto.

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