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NCAA Football

College Football Kickoff: The Good, Bad, Ugly and Insane from Opening Night

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The Good, Bad, Ugly, Insane and What's Next From Opening Night

Don McPeak-USA TODAY Sports

Well, how is everyone feeling so far today after the wild happy hour that ran early into Friday morning to kick of the 2013 College Football season? This guy didn’t have one adult beverage last night, but did find a way to squeeze in all the games while drafting not one, but two Fantasy Football teams at roughly the same time.

Yeah! It’s hard being this talented and awesome! But we all have our crosses to bear now don’t we. You know it is going to be a great season when you go 1-1 on the first night and pretty much nail the final score of an SEC opener in Nashville (38-33 prediction 38-35 final)

But not everything came up roses last night for every team. There were some questionable plays, horrible decisions, missed calls and full out shenanigans that as fans we hope will get cleared out before tonight's games and tomorrow's TV marathon.

So if you were stuck at the office, couldn’t get away from Aunt Ruth talking about her sore bunion or simply couldn’t hold your liquor to make it past 7:30, then you have found the right article that will recap every single thing you need to know and/or missed last night. This is a weekly piece that you will get the pleasure of seeing usually on Monday morning to help you become the King of the Watercooler, but since college football opening night is kind of like Christmas, this guy will give you a pair of gifts this week.

So without further ado, click away and enjoy The Good, The Bad, The Ugly and The Insane from the opening night of college football.

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The Good

Don McPeak-USA TODAY Sports

How awesome and amazing was the SEC opener between the Ole Miss Rebels and the Vanderbilt Commodores!?

It was a game that went back and forth and forth and back and was a grand slam for the four letter network. Seriously, Vandy defies every obstacle to score with a few minutes remaining to seemingly seal the game just as they did in 2012 only to have Jeff Scott break off a 75-yard touchdown run with a minute remaining to give Ole Miss the win.

"We stole one tonight," Ole Miss Head Coach Hugh Freeze said following the game. "We didn't necessarily play that well, particularly defensively in the second half. But one of the staples of our program since I've been here is that you play for 60 minutes and you do not blink and you play until the whistle blows at the end of the game. I knew that it would be a good run play. Obviously, I didn't know it would go all the way to the house. But I thought it would be a good run play."

"I knew we had to make something happen," Scott said. "Last year, it was very painful. They came back. It was basically the same situation. We didn't want to go through that again and feel that pain. We can't. It is a long ride back home."

The game even featured a fake punt by the Rebels in which the top incoming freshman in all the land, Robert Nkemdiche, ran 11 yards for the first down.

Simply masterful by both teams and a great prime-time game to kick off the season.

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The Bad

Jeff Blake-USA TODAY Sports

It is unclear who this guy wants to give this award to so let’s just say it's a tie to both the No. 9 South Carolina Gamecocks and the No. 24 North Carolina Tar Heels for not almost destroying the momentum of opening night with a lackluster performance by both teams.

It has been a mild and unusual summer in the south this year, but the humidity seemed to be the only one ready to play Thursday at 6 p.m. in Columbia. Yes, the Gamecocks won fairly easily, 27-10, but North Carolina had every opportunity in the world to steal this game. In the end it was just another cruise control type game for the SEC over the ACC.

If you take away three plays in that game last night, the Tar Heels cover and possibly win that game. South Carolina scored 14 points on two single big plays. But next week, UNC doesn’t give up those plays. Carolina also had shifted the momentum and were about to get great field position, but they fumbled both the punt and the game away.

But let’s not fault UNC for everything. The Gamecocks didn’t impress as a team that can win the SEC or the BCS. They moved the chains when they needed to and they have a ton of talent, but they simply could have done a lot more. And let’s not even get into the Jadeveon Clowney discussion at this point. That is coming a bit later in this article.

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The Ugly

Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

USC Trojans Head Coach Lane Kiffin.

That is all.

Was there any uglier performance last night to start off? Seriously, the Hawaii Rainbows has a 5-3 lead over the Trojans in the fourth-inning before Kiffin and his clowns realized they were playing football and not baseball.

Now USC did end up taking the game 30-13, but seven of those 30 points where thanks to the defense who also picked off four Rainbow passes.

Even the post game comments were ugly.

”Well, we’re 1-0,” Kiffin said following the game.. “It’s really about winning the game and we’re excited to have done so. We didn’t play very well on offense but were great on defense. We sat some guys that were questionable but overall we’re happy to be 1-0. Now we’ll get back on the plane, get healthy, and get ready for conference play. It’s not how you start the season but it’s how you finish it and we just have to make sure we continue to improve.”

That’s a quote you expect to hear from the Hawaii coaching staff, not USC.

Just simply ugly in every way. Let’s hope this trend doesn’t continue.

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The Insane

Jeff Blake-USA TODAY Sports

The NCAA’s new rule on hitting a defenseless player and leading with your helmet got some action last night both in very bad ways.

The first incident was simply busch league as Carlos Aviles of the Indiana State Sycamores was ejected for a brutal targeting hit on Indiana Hoosiers punt returner Shane Wynn. The officials handled it perfectly sending Aviles to the showers in the second half and will have to sit out the first half of the Sycamores' next game.

The second incident involved Jadeveon Clowney. Late in the game Tar Heel sophomore Kiaro Holts decided to try and take out Clowney once and for all with an illegal clip. The Tar Heels and Head Coach Larry Fedora are too classy for this type of move. Plus it is baffling why Holts did this as the game was already pretty much over and Clowney had been a non-factor in the game to that point battling poor conditioning on the humid night.

Finally, to end on a fun note, this guy would like for you to meet the best holder and place kicker combo in the country in Patrick Fish and Elliot Fry. That’s right folks, the No. 9 South Carolina Gamecocks will line up a Fish Fry every time they attempt a field goal or extra point this season. If the marketing department doesn’t have a sponsorship sold to Captain D’s or somewhere for a free something every time Fish Fry hits a 40 yard field goal then there is no hope for humanity. But since Fry, who is a freshman, evidently hasn’t been able to earn the A for Carolina on his jersey, then this deal is probably not done (Fry’s jersey during the game read Carolin on the front and not Carolina).

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What's Next?

Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports

There are eight College Football games on tap for tonight to bridge us all until the main course on Saturday. Most are just tune up games for big teams, but there is one you need to tune in and watch if you are looking for a bandwagon to jump on in 2013.

The Miami Hurricanes have a very athletic and talented team who is ready to make the next step and return to glory in college football. The U will get a tune up tonight as they host the Florida Atlantic Owls on ESPNU at 8 p.m.

There are a couple of reasons to tune in tonight. One, Head Coach Al Golden is one of the best kept coaching secrets in all of college football. Two, if you are an old school guy or gal who remembers the old nasty Hurricanes then you are going to love what you see tonight in Duke Johnson. Three, think of it as homework to prepare you for Miami's battle with the No. 10 Florida Gators next week. Four, let this game restore some hope in ACC Football and its talent for at least 20 hours.

M Shannon Smallwood is a member of the Football Writers Association of America and the US Basketball Writers Association.

Follow him @woodysmalls.

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