Johnny Manziel is a one-man version of ‘The U’

jgiglio@newsobserver.comSeptember 1, 2013 

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Johnny Manziel #2 of the Texas A&M Aggies celebrates a third quarter touchdown during the game against the Rice Owls at Kyle Field on August 31, 2013 in College Station, Texas. (Photo by Scott Halleran/Getty Images)

SCOTT HALLERAN — Getty Images

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    Clemson: The Tigers opened this season the same way they ended the last one – with a win against a top-10 SEC team.

    Saturday’s 38-35 classic against No. 5 Georgia put Dabo Swinney’s team in the national conversation. It will need to beat Florida State (Oct. 19) and South Carolina (Nov. 30) and avoid any potholes in between to stay there, but with quarterback Tajh Boyd, anything is possible at this point for the IPTAYers.

    N.C. State: Who were those guys? That was a completely different N.C. State team in Saturday’s 40-14 burial of Louisiana Tech. Early starts and average teams have been problems for the Wolfpack – not in Dave Doeren’s debut.

    The only glitch was the foot injury to quarterback Brandon Mitchell, who for two series looked like the embodiment of karmic retribution for Russell Wilson’s exit in 2011.

    With any luck, Mitchell will be able to come back for the Wolfpack’s trip to Wake Forest on Oct. 5.

    Maryland: Said before Saturday’s 43-10 dismissal of Florida International and will say it again: The Terps aren’t leaving the ACC without a fight.

    With the next three games against Old Dominion, Connecticut and West Virginia, Randy Edsall’s group should be 4-0 when it visits Florida State on Oct. 5.

    Down arrow

    Virginia Tech: We’re a Chris Rix parking ticket from Virginia Tech completely transforming into Florida State at the end of Bobby Bowden’s tenure.

    Longtime coach Frank Beamer earned the free pass he got for last year’s exceptionally average 7-6 finish, but the slide to mediocrity takes more than one season and one loss to the No. 1 team in the country.

    The same symptoms – the resistance to change, the overdue loyalty to assistants, the recruiting complacency – sank FSU and it’s probably too late for Beamer to change the course of his future.

Upon further review

• After Saturday’s performance against Rice, in only one half thanks to a preposterous NCAA suspension, it’s clear Texas A&M quarterback Johnny Manziel is a one-man version of “The U.”

The sooner we – media, fans, ESPN talking heads – all realize that, the better. The only way to shut up Manziel is to shut him down. So far, not even Alabama has been able to do that.

• Butch Davis once he said he never should have trusted John Blake, the disgraced former assistant coach who was given a five-year “show cause” by the NCAA for his relationship with the late Gary Wichard.

After North Carolina’s 27-10 loss at South Carolina on Thursday, the Tar Heels could have used more of Blake’s recruits, especially on the defensive line.

Coach Larry Fedora’s team still has great parts on offense, but the defense was pushed around by the Gamecocks in a game that showed how much the talent gap has grown between UNC and the SEC since Blake’s last game (a 30-24 loss to Louisiana State in 2010).

• Virginia scheduled up after a 4-8 finish in 2012, and Mike London’s team started the season with a 19-16 home win against Brigham Young on Saturday.

Given the firepower on the schedule – Oregon next week, Clemson (Nov. 2) and road trips to Miami and North Carolina – the bowl hopes of the retooled Cavaliers could not afford a loss to the Cougars.

The addition of former N.C. State assistant Jon Tenuta is already paying dividends for London’s defense.

• Duke recorded its first shutout, 45-0 against N.C. Central, since 1989. Georgia Tech blanked Elon 70-0 for its first shutout since 2008, 27-0 against Duke.

The Yellow Jackets, whose defense is run by former Duke coach Ted Roof, won’t play again until Sept. 14 against Duke.

With hapless Memphis next on the schedule, we won’t know more about Duke’s defense, which was No. 107 nationally in scoring last season, until its trip to Atlanta.

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