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Live blogging the 2014 college football season

2014 Live Blog Header

Plenty of websites covering college football make a habit of posting live blogs or open threads for individual games. I could do that if I wanted, but instead I am deciding to live blog the entire college football season. That’s right, this is going to be one season-long live blog for the 2014 college football season through my eyes. The plan is to go from the first game on the FBS calendar (Georgia State vs. Abilene Christian) all the way through the 2015 College Football Playoff National Championship Game.

I should note a couple of things before getting started. This is more of a casual running commentary throughout the season, with me usually updating this after getting through work-related responsibilities on College Football Talk. But this will generally be updated once during or after each game I happen to be watching this season, so we should be touching on plenty of college football this fall.

Let’s just see if I can get into September first…

2014 Live Blog Header

August 27, 2014, Game No. 1: Georgia State vs. Abilene Christian

This is it, the first college football game on the FBS calendar. It is good to have college football back. I got a taste of the college gridiron on Saturday with Eastern Washington opening the season at home on the red turf against Sam Houston State. I only got to watch the first half, and it was enough to get me excited for the new season. Now, here we are a few days later, opening the FBS calendar on a Wednesday night in the Georgia Dome. The first touchdown scored in an FBS game this season was scored by Georgia State wide receiver Joel Ruiz. JUCO transfer quarterback Nick Arbuckle had a good night as well, throwing for 413 yards and four touchdowns, but it was his composure on the game-winning drive that really stood out the most. Arbuckle converted two passes on fourth down to keep the drive alive, one from five yards and the second from 19 following a false start penalty. Then, with no timeouts to work with we saw Arbuckle keep the ball himself to pick up some yards and move closer to comfortable field goal position for Wil Lutz. He ran once for 13 yards and two plays later picked up 17 more yards on the ground. Had he not picked up those yards, who knows what would have happened with the kick. It looked like this was destined to be Albeline Christian’s night but Georgia State snapped a 16-game losing streak.

Abilene Christian had their chances to put Georgia State away, but the Panthers were able to score 17 points on their final three possessions of the game. August 28, 2014: Game No. 2, No. 9 South Carolina vs. No. 21 Texas A&M This is the first real significant game of the new season, and it is being given top-notch treatment on the new SEC Network. As I am sitting here watching SEC Nation air from inside the stadium, I cannot help but love how the SEC Network equivalent of its parent program, GameDay, is giving us a glimpse into the pregame atmosphere inside the stadium in Columbia. Seriously, this is awesome and I hope people form the Big Ten Network and Pac 12 Network (heck, even at ESPN) are paying attention to this. There are great pregame atmosphere everywhere and the SEC Network is doing this right. We need more of this. As for the game itself, South Carolina enters as a pretty solid favorite, and I had been leaning that way leading up to the game. But now I’m starting to feel like we could be seeing an upset from the Aggies. Nobody is giving them much of a chance, which is why I think taking the points and Texas A&M is the safe bet to go here. But you know what, I’m going to go outright on this one. Kevin Sumlin is going to have this offense ready to do some good things regardless of the talent lost. I don’t think they will be an SEC East contender in November, but I think we may be giving South Carolina too much faith in this one. And what do you know. Kenny Hill put on quite the show to snap South Carolina’s home winning streak and catapulted himself into the Heisman conversation in his record-setting starting debut for the Aggies. His predecessor took notice…

Game No. 3, No. 18 Ole Miss vs. Boise State

Talk about a sloppy game. This one was as ugly as it can get with six turnovers in the first half. Boise State’s defense showed me something, but I think I finally came to grips with the idea that the best of Boise State football may now be a thing of the past. Ole Miss eventually pulled away on the scoreboard, but the Rebels have plenty of concerns going forward as well. Bo Wallace was up and down, but Laquon Treadwell eventually proved too difficult for Boise State to cover and Cody Core came up with big plays when he caught the football. Boise State was gassed and had quarterback play that was never steady.

Games No. 4 (Tulsa vs. Tulane), No. 5 (Akron vs. Howard), No. 6 (ULM vs. Wake Forest)

I had these games as options to flip to or streaming on the extra monitor, so no real observations other than some of the basics. The American Athletic Conference debut for both former Conference USA schools went to double overtime, after Tulsa dug out of a double-digit deficit in the second half. The two exchanged field goals in the first session and Tulsa scored a touchdown on their second overtime possession and sealed the win with an interception. Fun game, for sure. I also noticed Akron was flexing some muscle against an FCS squad (Howard), which should raise a few eyebrows. Wake Forest struggled mightily against one of the Sun Belt favorites. Good win for ULM, and more of the same mess from Wake Forest in Dave Clawson’s debut on the sideline.

Game No. 7, Washington State vs. Rutgers

In Seattle, Rutgers played (and won) their first game as a Big Ten member. It was a back-and-forth game from start to finish and somehow the Scarlet Knights came out on top. That should make the flight home much easier on the entire team. Say hello to running back Paul James.

Game No. 8, Vanderbilt vs. Temple

This game was supposed to kick a little after 9pm but was delayed nearly two hours due to severe weather. That meant I stayed up until just after 2:00 a.m. to watch Temple put a beatdown on the Commodores, 34-7. Incredible. The Owls lost games to Fordham and Idaho last season and open the 2014 season with a road win in SEC territory. This was clearly not the same Vanderbilt team it was under James Franklin and his staff. Derek Mason got off to a terrible start in his head coaching debut, but it is far too early to suggest Mason is in over his head. Let’s see how this Vandy team responds. I’m also excited for Temple, but holding off on suggesting they can make any legitimate run in the AAC. With that, I’m going to bed.

About the Author

Kevin McGuire
Contributor to College Football Talk on NBCSports.com. Also a contributor to Athlon Sports and The Comeback. Member of Football Writers Association of America and National Football Foundation. Follow on Twitter @KevinOnCFB.
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