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Opening weekend winners and losers

LSU quarterback Jarrett Lee (12) pitches the ball

LSU quarterback Jarrett Lee (12) pitches the ball to fullback James Stampley (35) during the first half of the Cowboys Classic NCAA college football game against Oregon Saturday, Sept. 3, 2011, in Arlington, Texas. (AP Photo/Tony Gutierrez) Photo Credit: AP Photo/Tony Gutierrez

WINNERS –

Boise State: The Broncos worked their magic again. Last year they knocked off Virginia Tech in what was essentially a home game for the Hokies at RFK Stadium. On Saturday they showed the world just how legit they are with a sound 35-21 win against Georgia. But the weekend had a bitter-sweet feel to it for Boise State. Check out the losers section below for that one.

South Florida: Winning at Notre Dame (23-20) is big for any Big East team. It validates everything the Bulls have done in recent years. With games against Ball State, Florida A&M, UTEP, Pittsburgh, Connecticut, Cincinnati, Rutgers and Syracuse still left, Skip Holtz’s squad could be 9-0 before a home game against Miami.

Baylor: The Bears did a masterful job of avoiding a near disastrous loss, grinding out a 50-48 win over TCU on Friday. The win does several things for Baylor. The Big 12 continues to hemorrhage teams (Oklahoma could be leaving). If the conference dissolves, Baylor will need somewhere to go. A strong season could make Baylor an enticing program. The Bears could easily be 5-0 heading into their road matchup with Texas A&M on October 15.

LSU: Beating No.3 Oregon with backup quarterback Jarrett Lee was great news for the Tigers. Lee's numbers weren't great (10-22, 98 yds, 1 TD), but he didn't have to be that good. The Tigers' running duo of Spencer Ware (26-99, 1 TD) and Michael Ford (14-96, 2 TD) paced the offense. It helped that Oregon was without CB/punt returner Cliff Harris, whose backup had a fumble that led directly to a LSU touchdown. Did LSU really miss suspended QB Jordan Jefferson? 

Northwestern: The Wildcats were impressive, racking up a road win against Boston College with backup quarterback Kain Colter under center. Colter threw for 197 yards and ran for 71 and a score in Northwestern’s 24-17 win. Winnable games against Eastern Illinois, Army and Illinois over the next month could make the Wildcats a Big Ten team to watch.

LOSERS

Boise State: Yes, somehow the Broncos are both winners and losers. Winning a road game against an SEC squad like Georgia was big time for the Broncos. But TCU losing at Baylor was a killer. It makes the matchup between the teams on November 12 far less important. The Broncos need to roll through their schedule to cement a spot in a BCS game.

Notre Dame: We know it’s only been one game, but Notre Dame was sloppy in a 23-20 loss to South Florida. And the schedule won’t get any easier. The Irish has a tough stretch that includes road dates with Michigan and Pittsburgh and home games against Michigan State, Air Force and USC. Oh, and there are still games against Boston College and Stanford. Making matters more complicated, Irish coach Brian Kelly benched QB Dayne Crist in favor of Tommy Rees after the two-hour rain delay.

TCU: The Horned Frogs were all set for a great season. A win at Baylor would've further etched the program's legitimacy as a national power in stone. That loss all but dashed any hopes at an at-large BCS bid. Even a win against Boise State later in the season may not be enough.

Oregon State: The Beavers lost to FCS squad Sacramento State, 29-28. Do we really need to even waste any time on this? 

INCOMPLETE

Oregon: Saturday nigh's loss to LSU really hurt. But with games against Stanford and USC still on the schedule, all isn't lost for the Ducks. They are still in the mix for a BCS berth, although getting a spot in the title game might be a stretch now.

 

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