What to make of season openers? Here's what I took away from our first looks at local teams of interest:
* WVU: Gave a better effort than I saw at any time last year.
Coaching staff seemed more involved, more inspired.
QB?Clint Trickett was better than advertised.
Defense was OK, special teams outstanding.
Mountaineers will be 1-1 after whipping up on Towson, which is where we expected them to be.
In the old days, it seemed like how West Virginia did against Maryland determined how the season would go. That may well be the case again this year.
* Marshall: Quarterback Rakeem Cato is indeed The Real Deal (sorry Mr. Holyfield).
He led the Herd to a fast 28-3 lead over Kent State, then Marshall relaxed and allowed the Golden Flashes to make more of a game of it than it should have been.
Given Rice's woes against Notre Dame, Marshall appears to be the clear-cut favorite in Conference USA.
* Ohio State: Obviously, the Buckeyes greatly miss Braxton Miller.
But OSU still has enough talent to be competitive -and beat -every team on its schedule.
Virginia Tech will tell us more about the Buckeyes than did Navy.
* Ohio U.: Anytime you can snag a win on the road is a good thing.
The Cats needed a last-play field goal to win at Kent State but win they did.
This week's game at Southeastern Conference member Kentucky will give us an idea of how far the team has slipped after suffering heavy graduation losses.
* Parkersburg High and Parkersburg South: Why lump them together?
Because both showed they have a lot of offensive weapons and need to improve defensively.
Jordan Colebank gives PHS yet another weapon and the South passing combination of Garrett Gilkeson to Cody Boggs will give opponents fits.
Both programs are looking to regain their statewide respect as neither has gotten a point in the early polls.
* St. Marys and Williamstown: The Little Kanawha Conference's two perennial small school powers made successful and impressive debuts.
It's hard to imagine any other team winning the league's Class A division.
Mark Oct. 3 on your calendar. That's the night St. Marys visits Williamstown.
* Calhoun County: On a Friday night filled with good stories, none was better than Calhoun's.
The Red Devils went into the season on the school's longest losing streak, having lost 18 straight games.
Playing against rival Gilmer County, Calhoun came out fired up and showed that 2014 is going to be different.
The numbers may not be there, but the heart and hustle is.
* Belpre: It's been fun watching the Golden Eagles get a little better with each passing season under coach Greg Adams.
A season-opening win over a quality program like Fort Frye could mean good things are in store for Belpre.
Contact Dave Poe at firstname.lastname@example.org