Both of these games were played at the same time in neutral site stadiums close to the campuses of both schools. The certainly both had Bowl like atmospheres to them, even more so for the Alabama/Clemson game.
The Alabama win did kick off several minutes before the Midwest matchup and it seemed as if I watched more of that game. Although, I was flipping back and forth after each play. Anyhow, here are some thoughts I had during the watching.....
....Whether you like Nick Saban or not, and I'm not sure I do, you've got to believe to that the Tide are going to be much better this year. Again they've got an experienced quarterback who seemed to be very much improved.
....Speaking of improved quarterbacks. I thought Juice Williams was pretty darn good in that game. Of course his receivers helped him out quite a bit. Apparently, Williams worked with Donovan McNabb in the offseason. Makes you wonder why Andrew Robinson didn't do the same.
....I thought Clemson might have been a bit overrated coming in. And it's easy to say that now. I still think the Tigers might be the best team in the ACC, but from what I saw out of Wake Forest on Thursday, it might be tough to beat them. It certainly wasn't the best of days for the ACC on Saturday.
....Tide freshman receiver Julio Jones looks the part of the bigtime recruit he was. He caught 4 passes for 28 yards -- including one for a score. He's got a big frame and pretty decent speed. I think we'll be hearing his name for awhile.
....Just because 'Bama won this opener, don't expect the Tide to roll to the top of the SEC. The conference is still very deep and 'Bama still has a lot of work to do. But its obvious the foundation has been laid - and nobody iwll have an easy time with the Tide this year or in the future.
....Jeremy Maclin left the game with Illinois late with an injury. He's a key part of the Tigers attack and they need him. He did return to the sidelines on crutches and with ice on his ankle. It's probably not serious, but I'm guessing we don't see him Saturday against SEMO State.
....Chase Daniel is still my pick for the Heisman (and Lee Corso's for that matter). He threw for 323 yards and three scores in the win. A nice night against a decent Illini defense to start the season. He also ran for 46 yards. He makes the right decisions in their offense and is poised to have a huge year.
....Hard to believe that Illinois/Missouri was the matchup of the day. But that is what we have gotten to in the college football world. Most teams playing I-AA schools early, because the stadiums remained packed and they want to avoid an early loss like Clemson or Illinois suffered. Those losses probably take them out of consideration for a BCS bowl, unless they win their conference and get the automatic. Even worse however, might have been the fate of teams like Pittsburgh and Virginia Tech, who played pretty decent football teams and lost, but will be punished for it all year long in the rankings, while teams who beat up on Coastal Carolina and Chattanooga and the like will be rewarded. Doesn't seem right, does it?