Tom Sorensen

College football opening weekend didn’t disappoint – except for game in Charlotte

N.C. State and Jaylen Samuels (1) played a thrilling game in Charlotte against South Carolina to open the college football season, but there was one reason for disappointment.
N.C. State and Jaylen Samuels (1) played a thrilling game in Charlotte against South Carolina to open the college football season, but there was one reason for disappointment. AP

Not sure which sport knows how to best open a season. Major League Baseball evokes the most poetry, almost all of it bad. But opening day is loaded. Baseball opened the 2017 season with three games April 2 and 11 on April 3.

The NCAA men’s basketball tournament ended as baseball began. The 2017 Final Four was April 1, and the national championship April 3.

Also, the start of baseball means spring. Technically, spring starts March 20. But that’s an arbitrary date. When baseball starts, so does spring. We might not have attained the beach, but we can feel it.

Yet college football this season surpassed even Major League Baseball. UCLA rallied Saturday from a 44-10 third-quarter deficit to beat Texas A&M 45-44. With less than a minute to play UCLA quarterback Josh Rosen faked a spike and threw a touchdown pass. Football needs more fake spikes.

On Monday, Georgia Tech was beating the Tennessee Volunteers well as beating on them. This was an ACC team handling an SEC team. Tennessee head coach Butch Jones must go.

No, he must stay. The man does not panic, and his players don’t, either. The Volunteers rallied from a 14-point deficit in the third quarter and another 14-point deficit in the fourth to win in double overtime 42-41.

On the game’s final play, Georgia Tech coach Paul Johnson went for a two-point conversion. There was confusion on the Georgia Tech line and Tennessee stuffed the play. We all love two-point conversations – except when they fail. But it was the right call.

The Volunteers will not exactly ease into the season. They play at Florida Sept. 16 and at home against Georgia Sept. 30.

Last season, the ACC was outstanding, the SEC not so much. Although it’s early, it appears that this season the natural order will be restored.

South Carolina beat N.C. State 35-28 Saturday in Charlotte. Thousands of people travel on Labor Day weekend, but few of them traveled to Bank of America Stadium for what was an appealing match-up. The Carolina Panthers draw as many fans for an exhibition game as South Carolina and N.C. State did for a game that counted.

If Clemson had played N.C. State, or if North Carolina had played South Carolina, I wonder what the attendance would have been.

Tom Sorensen is a retired Charlotte Observer columnist. Sign up for his newsletter, and follow him on Twitter: @tomsorensen

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