Brother v. Brother: Opening Weekend Reactions

De'Anthony Thomas is apparently really fast. No, but seriously.

Everyone has an arch nemesis. Mine just happens to be my older brother. But our incessant bickering has led to many an entertaining discussion through the years. And because much of these debates have centered on college sports, it seems only appropriate we take them to the blogosphere to settle them once and for all. Here's your weekly fraternal debate affectionately known as Brother v. Brother.

PaulSF: I don't care how you pronounce his name; Marcus Mariota looked damn good taking over Oregon's offense. Well, for the quarter and a half we saw him.

GrumpyJDH: Was that ridiculous or what? 50 points in 22 and a half minutes?! The competition was suspect but I think we just witnessed, however briefly, the next evolution of Chip's lethal scheme. Leading the charge is an 18-year old who will end up being his best quarterback yet. Yes, I just said that. I only needed 1.5 quarters to know he's the total package. Also, 1.5 quarters? Talk about calling the dogs off way too early.

PaulSF: You wouldn't be saying that if De'Anthony got De'Capitated midway through the second quarter. Will you get over it finally? Anyway, we also saw his back-up prove...why Mariota was named the starter in the first place. Although in Bennett's defense, he was trying to make too much happen with less talent and/or experience around him. He'll settle in. But I'm with you: Mariota is the real deal. Wanna know who else is the real deal? De'Anthony Thomas. DAT. Just. Happened!

GrumpyJDH: Ya' think? Wow! I told you Saturday he seems capable of scoring on one out of every three touches this year. Turns out I was being a bit conservative. He actually hit paydirt thrice on a mere seven touches. That's absurd. Oh, and it would have been four for eight if his other long scoring strike hadn't been nullified by penalty. Enjoy him while he's here, Duck fans, 'cuz it won't be forever and he's a once-in-a-decade talent.

PaulSF: The same could be said for Chipper. If the Ducks do to the rest of their slate what they did to Arkansas State in the first quarter and a half, they're both going to be gone next season. Based on what you saw Saturday, (1) how good is this team?

GrumpyJDH: We may not know for sure until Nov. 3, but I've got a pretty good hunch already and so does someone else: epically good. Did you happen to notice Mariota went 18 of 22 throwing the pigskin on Saturday? I mention this not only to point out his accuracy was amazing (it was) but also because he threw those 22 passes in 22 minutes. Wait, what? Did we just add a high-efficiency, high-volume passing game to an already devastating ground attack? Go review that schedule again and tell me who holds us under 50 points this year.

PaulSF: Yeah, we should probably get used to what we saw last Saturday. If we aren't 8-0 when we take on the Men of Troy in the Coliseum in early November, it'll be because we forfeited a game.

GrumpyJDH: Ha! Wait, that wasn't foreshadowing, was it? Speaking of forfeiting games (thanks, NCAA!), USC and Ohio State sure looked good this weekend. Looks like Urban Meyer might actually resurrect that giant in Columbus. (2) Who else impressed you and, conversely, who's got their work cut out for them this season?

PaulSF: I'd say West Virginia had the most impressive outing. Last week, I picked the Mountaineers as the most overrated team in the country. Then they subsequently dropped another near 70 on Marshall. Geno Smith, who finished 32 of 36 for 323 yards and four TDs, looked like a legitimate Heisman contender. I take back what I said, WVU fans. If it's all right with you, I'd like to change my most overrated team to Michigan. Yikes.

GrumpyJDH: Michigan will be just fine. Alabama, on the other hand, is apparently...just as good as they were last year despite major personnel losses. Could we be staring down the barrel of a 7th straight national champion from the SEC? Ugh. Speaking of the Rolling Tide, did you see Mike Price and his UTEP Miners give Bob Stoops and his Sooners all they could handle? Thanks for the quick bump to No. 4, Oklahoma! Despite OU's egg-laying in El Paso, I think the Houston Cougars take the cake for most underwhelming. They squared off as 34-point favorites against FBS newcomer, Texas State. They lost 30-13. Then, they fired their offensive coordinator for insubordination, basically. After a single game. Ha! I'd call that a pretty rough opening weekend.

PaulSF: Case Keenum's not walking through that door. Kevin Sumlin's not walking through that door. By the way, you sound like an SEC honk. This year's Jerry Bowl told us nothing we didn't already know about Alabama. They are who we thought they were! That game proved one thing and one thing only: Michigan is still a few years away from being back on top. They were overmatched both athletically and strategically, and proved my point from two weeks ago that they have virtually no chance of winning the Big Ten.

GrumpyJDH: Clearly, you overrate the Big Ten and forget Ohio State isn't eligible to win it. Let's shift gears back to the Ducks before I get angry. (3) Of the reserves who saw bonus time on Saturday (so, all of them), who really stood out as a legit prospect?

PaulSF: I'll give you three in hopes of stealing your thunder. Byron Marshall looks to be the perfect fit for this offense. He's got a lot to learn (starting with running north/south rather than east/west), but he seems to have the perfect mix of speed and power in the same mold as LaMike and Barner. B.J. Kelley, despite the dropped pass that led to Oregon's only turnover, seems to have good hands, size, and speed to make some big plays and clearly has a bright future. And Keanon Lowe, although small, looks like the kind of energy player the offense could use with the ability to break off a huge play once in a while. He kind of reminds me of Keenan Howry, actually.

GrumpyJDH: You forgot about Bralon Addison, of course, who looked frighteningly quick, though very slight. He looks like a poor man's DAT right now but I think by the end of the year, he'll do something(s) breathtaking. You also failed to mention Kyle Long, who looked frighteningly...gigantic. 6'7", 311 pounds? His fourth quarter pancake of an unsuspecting Red Wolf defender was impressive. He's a senior so he probably doesn't qualify as a "prospect," but...you never know when opportunity will knock. He could contribute.

PaulSF: There's no doubt he will contribute, especially with Tyler Johnstone's status up in the air (although it sounds like he'll play this weekend). Long's also applied for an additional year of eligibility, so let's cross our fingers and hope that gets approved by the NCAA.

GrumpyJDH: Yeah, I'm sure the NCAA will do us a solid on that one. Pffffttt.

PaulSF: Speaking of Johnstone, did you see this? HA! Amazing!

GrumpyJDH: Brilliant! Is that enough to garner an IMDB page? Apparently so.

PaulSF: Big Teenager! God, I love the Internet. Anyway, let's talk about the Ducks defense. For almost two quarters, they were nearly lights out and looked impressive. Then, after giving up a 72-yard touchdown pass with about 3 minutes left in the first half, the wheels came off. All things considered, most of Arkansas State's points were scored on Oregon's reserves. But for a highly touted unit whose depth chart needs to go 30 deep, (4) is there cause for concern about Oregon's defense?

GrumpyJDH: No. The Ducks' brain trust is too smart to lay down tendencies or exotic blitz packages on tape for future opponents to see. It looked to me like they went pretty vanilla from the middle of the 2nd quarter on. Any good quarterback will expose a vanilla defense and Ryan Aplin is definitely a very good quarterback.

PaulSF: We also need to put that game in perspective. Arkansas State, although not a marquee opponent, will still finish with nine or 10 wins this year. And if there's anything Malzahn does well, it's install offenses. It was only a matter of time before the Red Wolves tacked on a few touchdowns at the expense of Oregon's reserves. Easiest $10 bucks I've ever made, by the way.

GrumpyJDH: You bet against our boys? I thought we went over this. It's sacrilegious!

PaulSF: Even if the game is in the bag? We were up 50-10 at the half. I mentioned in passing that I still thought the Red Wolves would cover the 37-point spread, and Ossie and D-Town disagreed. What was I supposed to do? Back down? Besides, it was a win-win. We get our youngsters some time on the field and I make $10 or I pay $10 to watch the De'Anthony Thomas show for another couple series. Who wouldn't pay to see that show?

GrumpyJDH: I'd have paid well north of $10 to see him play more than 22 minutes. I'm over it, though. Sounds like you're already channeling your inner degenerate for our trip to Vegas this weekend. VEGAS! You ready for about 15-20 hours of solid football? (5) Which games interest you the most on this weekend's slate?

PaulSF: Are you talking about which games to bet on?

GrumpyJDH: We haven't even printed out our boarding passes, Paully. Cool your jets, wiseguy.

PaulSF: I'm most interested in seeing how our Pac-12 nemeses do this weekend. The Huskies have a chance to make a statement in Baton Rouge and they don't even have to win. Make it respectable, Dawgs, and you'll represent the Pac-12 well. Meanwhile, I want to believe Wisconsin will have their hands full in Corvallis this weekend. It's always a tough place to play and the Big Ten has not fared well on the Left Coast in recent years. Then again, when was the last time the Beavers won a non-conference game against a ranked opponent in August or September?

GrumpyJDH: 2008? Over Utah?

PaulSF: You're gonna have to go back further than that. Try 2003, when the Biebers upset No. 16 Boise State in Corn Valley.

GrumpyJDH: Yikes.

PaulSF: Yeah, they're not exactly preseason Giant Killers. Anyway, your turn to break down your top games for this weekend.

GrumpyJDH: Easy. I wanna see how the SEC newbies do in their first conference games. If Mizzou and Texas A&M get stroked by Georgia and Florida, respectively, I'm gonna become an even bigger SEC honk. By the way, I think Mizzou might. A&M has a reasonably good shot of beating the Gators who, like their in-state rivals, Florida St., have been living on nothing but reputation since Tebow Time left. But enough about the rest of the country already! How bad do the Ducks hammer Fresno on Saturday?

PaulSF: Ducks 57, Fresno State 21. They'll just beat the spread this week.

GrumpyJDH: I think you're probably about right on but I think we top 60 this time. I'm going 66-24.

PaulSF: Let's just hope our starters stay on the field a little longer this week.

GrumpyJDH: Least I can just watch a different...well, all the other games if they don't. VEGAS! See you tonight, Brother. Bring your A game.

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