Random — extremely random — thoughts about the first weekend of Division I football (while in progress, mind you):
1. Is anybody going to challenge Alabama for the national title this year? Somebody is, but who? A lot of smart money is on Georgia, with some on Texas A&M. I’m not ruling out LSU, at least for the regular season, but I’m thinking Alabama takes home its third straight title. At least for now.
2. Speaking of Texas A&M, wasn’t that Johnny Manziel autograph session-NCAA inquiry just about the dumbest thing you saw the past few months? Well, maybe the first-half suspension against Rice ranked up there as well. Or the Miami-Frank Haith goof. Or (insert NCAA-related controversy here).
3. It’s a little late, but thank you, Jay Bilas. Now let’s just blow up the NCAA and start over. With the realization that athletes need to be paid something for what they bring to universities across the country.
4. My vote for Heisman: Jadeveon Clowney. Who’s yours?
5. Stadium expansions are becoming the rage, with Nebraska, Kansas State, Washington, Texas A&M among the universities either completing renovations or in the process — either of actual construction or in the fundraising stage. Practice facilities have been the major upgrade of choice for years, but now — with some stadiums in desperate need of work and others just simply getting dressed up to keep up with the Joneses — look for a lot of fundraising projects and a lot more in the way of big renovation announcements over the next decade. Then look for new stadiums altogether as the next phase of the recruiting arms race develops.
6. A lot of people are saying North Dakota State’s win over Kansas State wasn’t as much of an upset as you may think. A lot of people are saying NDSU was fairly evenly matched against the Wildcats, who lost Heisman Trophy candidate Collin Klein and others to graduation last season. OK, but that being said, K-State just opened the seats on a new renovation project…and unveiled a new statue of revered head coach Bill Snyder. After that closing drive — 80 yards, 18 plays, 8 minutes 30 seconds (let that one marinate in your brain for a few days) — to win the game with under 40 seconds left…there may be a statue of head coach Craig Bohl at some point sooner than expected. Hey — it’s a 1-AA win over a D-I school (and yes, I did that on purpose). And K-State fans may hate reading this, but the way the Bison won that game was pretty darn impressive. Some pundits are calling for other D-I schools to stop scheduling the Bison. Maybe NDSU should jump up a division instead. Nah.
Hope for more of those moments this season.