Season openers challenged by the elements.
Unsettled weather the first weekend of college football forced several teams to leave their fields and had fans running for the exits to avoid lightening strikes. A number of games were delayed with at least two contests abbreviated as some storms refused to move on. After five consecutive days of college football the games have stopped, but a resumption of bad weather is possible this weekend as additional tropical systems threaten the eastern half of the nation.
In my long memory of following college football, I do not recall such widespread problems affecting games. Much of the trouble was in the midwest where contests at Michigan, Notre Dame and West Virginia were halted. Games in Iowa and Tennessee were also delayed according to the “New York Daily News.” 
Regardless of weather conditions this weekend, a full slate of Division 1-A football awaits enthusiasts. TCU and Notre Dame were among the teams that unexpectedly lost, but there is a good chance we’ll see several more upsets when the second week of college football gets started on Thursday night. 
There is just one marquee match up this weekend when #3 Alabama travels to Happy Valley to take on #23 Penn State. An Alabama win would solidify the Tide’s quest for national title consideration even before SEC play begins. A win by the Nittany Lions would demonstrate to everyone that Penn State has the credibility to contend for the Big Ten Conference crown this year.
Auburn is not currently ranked, a somewhat shocking move, but entirely deserved following the Tigers’ lackluster performance on Saturday as it eeked out a 42-38 win over Utah State. The #16 Mississippi State Bulldogs take on Auburn at Jordan-Hare Stadium on Saturday, giving both teams a chance to make a statement. Auburn has the most to lose in this contest and could find the ‘Dogs ready to take them down.
Rutgers and North Carolina weren’t challenged in their season openers, but both schools have a lot of questions left unanswered. For Rutgers, its all about competing – can the Scarlet Knights put together a complete game against good competition or will this team be steamrolled? For UNC, the Butch Davis era is over, but can the Tarheels compete in the ACC this year? This non-conference match up should be a good indicator of where each team is headed this year.
TCU travels to Air Force in a game where the Horned Frogs find themselves 0-1 following a devastating 50 to 48 loss to Baylor. This is TCU’s last season in the Mountain West Conference, as the Frogs will navigate to the Big East Conference in 2012. Lose to Air Force and the Falcons will deliver a fatal blow to TCU’s major bowl aspirations this year.
Other games of interest include #12 South Carolina at Georgia. Following its loss to Boise State, the Bulldogs need to beat the Gamecocks to demonstrate its ability to compete effectively in the SEC. BYU at Texas is important as the Cougars must continue working through the team’s first full year as an independent while the Longhorns must hold up the banner of the Big 12 Conference even as some of its fellow members consider fleeing for greener pastures. And Notre Dame needs to find a way to recover from its loss to South Florida — too bad that involves a trip to the Big House to take on Michigan!
Will lightening strike twice again this weekend with two major upsets? That seems likely and are the only lightening strike fans want to encounter.