Mike Beas: College football season begins

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So appreciated a spectacle is college football that we boisterously applaud its arrival regardless of how the first wave of games plays out. Great matchups, mediocre matchups, doesn't matter. What does is that there is tackling, tailgating and a halftime tuba section, and not necessarily in that order.

The past weekend wasn't one we'll be talking about 30 years from now. Maybe not 30 minutes from now. But it is in the books and this is what know:

* Heisman Trophy winner Sam Bradford is a much better passer than leader. The Oklahoma quarterback sustained a shoulder injury in the second quarter of a 14-13 loss to BYU, then spent the remainder of the game wandering around the Sooners' sideline as if he had lost his dog when he could have been in the ear of his backup, redshirt freshman Landry Jones.

As to whether Jones might have benefited from soaking up sideline instruction from a fired-up Bradford, we'll never know. However, after losing by a single point, words of encouragement from winner of the sport's highest honor might have been what was needed to get Oklahoma over the hump.

* It's Florida's national title to lose. Not only could the Gators have eclipsed triple-digits against Charleston Southern (I'm online researching to see if that's a college or high school), they have the premier leader in the long and distinguished history of college football in senior quarterback Tim Tebow. An Oct. 10 date at LSU is the only potential stumbling block separating Florida from a date in the annual SEC Championship Game, where it will mop up either Alabama or LSU.

* The heat is on Ohio State. The Buckeyes were supposed to shoo away Navy with relative ease and in turn feed the hype machine prior to this weekend's home date with perennial power USC. Instead, OSU squeaked past the Middies, 31-27, and now looks like a squad primed to get stomped into its own turf by the Trojan Horse.

If there is good news for the Big Ten, it's that Michigan, Michigan State and Purdue might be better than first thought. Conversely, Ohio State, Illinois and Wisconsin might be worse.

* BCS Championship Game dark horse: Oklahoma State. The Cowboys will be taking a spotless 7-0 record into their Oct. 31 showdown with Texas in Stillwater. OSU's next-most-difficult outing comes Nov. 28 at Oklahoma, which may not be as difficult as it sounds if Bradford's shoulder isn't sufficiently healed.

Just think, Florida vs. Oklahoma State in the Rose Bowl for all the marbles. Sure, it's a reach. A lot of orange, too.

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