Opening Weekends are Filled With Surprises

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The opening weekend of college football is often filled with surprises. A lot
of very young players are stepping on the field for the first time, and teams
aren’t operating at maximum efficiency. Sometimes it seems like certain things
should happen on paper, but when the game starts, things head in a different
direction. Both Virginia Tech and Boise State were both involved in openers like
that in 2009.

Virginia Tech faced Alabama in a high profile matchup in Atlanta. With
Alabama breaking in a new quarterback and a new offensive line, and Virginia
Tech’s reputation for playing great defense, this game was expected to be low
scoring. Most people expected a 17-14 type of game, and if either team scored 20
points then that team would certainly be the winner.

As it turned out, both teams scored over 20 points. Alabama won that game
34-24 and ran over the Tech defense to the tune of nearly 500 total yards. The
Hokies didn’t light the world on fire offensively, but they managed to score
more points on the eventual National Champions than any other team managed all

Before that game, I don’t think anyone this side of Tuscaloosa would have
predicted that the Tech defense would get beaten that badly, and if you bet the
under on that game then you were out some cash.

We saw a fumbled punt return and a fumbled kickoff return lead to six points
for Alabama, we saw the Hokies run a kickoff back for a touchdown, we saw the
Tide cough up a score by fumbling deep in Tech territory, a missed short field
goal, etc. None of those guys had been on the field since the 2008 season, and
some of them were making their very first appearance. Most games aren’t a thing
of beauty in early September.

If you thought the Alabama-Virginia Tech game was going to be low scoring,
then you probably though Oregon-Boise State would be a shootout. Indeed, the
Broncos had beaten the Ducks 37-32 in the Autzen Zoo the previous September. I
think we all tuned in that night expecting an entertaining, high-scoring
football game.

What we got was sheer boredom. Boise State won the game 19-8, Oregon only
picked up seven first downs and the Broncos averaged less than three yards per
carry. Boise got up 19-0, and then spent the rest