Thrilling Weekend Kicks Off Season

Bobby Curran
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Friday - September 16, 2009
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No college football season can begin without at least one legitimate upset, and certainly BYU’s win over Oklahoma qualifies.

Sometimes the enthusiasm of the analysts causes some magical thinking. One national talk show host was so inspired by the Cougars’ victory that he said the injury to Sam Bradford, Oklahoma’s All-American QB and last year’s Heisman trophy winner who got knocked out of the game with a shoulder injury, “had nothing to do with it.”


Bradford’s replacement, Landry Jones, was taking his first college snaps. Not to disparage the BYU effort, but to maintain that Bradford’s injury was not germane to the outcome strains credibility. The win deservedly shot BYU upward in the polls, into the Top 10, but let’s not lose touch with reality here. Sam Bradford is no ordinary QB, and the Sooners may struggle in his absence.

One of the near-upsets was Navy refusing to quit at Ohio State and only an intercepted two-point conversion try for two points the other way kept the game from going to overtime. It was a gritty performance by the Middies, who were a significant underdog. Navy is coached by former UH QB and assistant Ken Niumatololo, who showed how far Navy football has come by expressing dissatisfaction with the close call.

Maybe the best game of opening weekend was the last, the Labor Day game between Miami and Florida State that produced a raft of big plays and five lead changes before ending on the three-yard line as time ran out on the Seminoles, resulting in the signature win in Randy Shannon’s Miami coaching career.

The most disturbing note was in the first game last Thursday when Boise State’s brilliant performance at home against Oregon was marred by a sucker punch thrown by Oregon RB LeGarrette Blount at a taunting Bronco player after the game ended. Blount’s attack and ensuing hysterics got him suspended for the rest of the year, and made for a miserable debut for the Ducks’ head coach Chip Kelly. All in all, an opening weekend that contained all of the drama, pomp and ceremony we’ve come to expect with our college football.

three star

The University of Hawaii men’s basketball team has switched its practice and conditioning times to the morning, much like football did 10 years ago. Head coach Bob Nash sees several advantages: “We noticed when we held the occasional morning practice before flights to the Mainland that the guys had a little more energy and enthusiasm. This way basketball’s the first thing they think of when they wake up. Then we head to the training table for a hearty breakfast. And then our guys are ready for their classes.”

It’s got some other advantages as well.

“Now our players have a little more flexibility in balancing their study hours with a social life,” says Nash. “And that’s a big part of the college experience.”

Early to bed and early to rise seems to meet with the approval of the players, too.

“We’re like the military,” says Nash. “We just get up and go.”

Won’t be long before we see the newest edition of Rainbow Warrior basketball.

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