Finally, it is back! College Football officially kicked off last Saturday with some great games and huge upsets. The biggest thing to remember is that it is just one game. Not everything that happened in the first week is guaranteed to occur in the future, looking at you Howard after you beat Baylor, but you can tell a lot from how the teams played in the first week to know whats going to happen in the next few weeks.
In the earliest game, it was a lot of nothing to care about as Clemson, Penn State, Oregon, Wisconsin, Oklahoma, and Auburn took care of business winning handily. It isn’t worth my time mentioning these games because they beat teams just as easily, if not more handily, as they were expected to do. The teams they played were not any of note, as most top 25 opponents are, but I have to mention these teams because they did what they were expected to so nothing should change.
The chaos started to rein, Michigan and Florida started playing, as well as, Maryland and Texas. Early on Michigan looked lost and confused in the game giving up back to back pick-6’s and a few other missteps on defense to be losing going into halftime. Moving from Atlanta to Austin, Maryland had a huge almost 30 point lead at halftime making the Longhorns look foolish for firing Charlie Strong, but there still was game time to play.
Back in Atlanta, Michigan started to figure things out and control the whole second half as they defeated the Gators 33-17. The only thing to be learned from this game is that Florida has a mess of a quarterback battle/controversy on their hands, and not in a right way. Both QB’s didn’t do great things, and neither stood out, seeing how coach Muschamp handles that will determine how good their team is this year.
Back in Texas, the Longhorns did it, they made a comeback and made it a 3 point game going into the fourth, then it went all downhill again. Maryland rattled off 14 straight points before Texas scored in the final minute and a half to make it a 10 point game. Buechle, the newest QB to try to do right for Texas, will try to make the fans forget about Colt McCoy (yes, still), and start the Herman era sound after a bitter loss.
Mid and late in the day were when the heart racers started, USC and Western Michigan were locked in a tight battle out on the west coast. Even after losing their head coach, who rowed his boat to Minnesota in the offseason, these Western Michigan Broncos gave it their all to scare USC late into this game. It was tied with 8 minutes left in the fourth before USC got two big late touchdowns to pull away to a 49-31 lead. USC needs to make their defense play better, on top of not underestimating their opponents.
Lastly, on Saturday were the big upsets and one that should have happened but didn’t. I am talking about Liberty-Baylor, Howard-UNLV, and Arkansas State-Nebraska. It started out with the greatest upset in the history of college football, based on FPI, Liberty beating Baylor, even though Anu Soloman had an excellent debut performance for the Bears, after transferring from Arizona as a graduate transfer this offseason. That record stood for about 15 minutes until Howard beat UNLV in their first win against a big FBS opponent in over a year. The two biggest FBS upsets happening on the same day, something uncalled for.
It could have been three if Arkansas State had finished off Nebraska, which they had the opportunity to win that game. Late in the fourth Arkansas State was driving down the field down two touchdowns looking to make it only one, and for some reason, Nebraska was playing a cushion, off the defender and trying not to get hurt, style defense. This approach didn’t work as the Red Wolves came down and scored to make it a one score game with a little less than a minute left, this is where it gets crazy.
Arkansas State then kicked a successful onside kick where the ball bounced perfectly over one of the Nebraska’s hands team member’s hands then was batted away by an Arkansas State player who later recovered it and quickly went out of bounds. The Red Wolves proceeded to march down to the 15-yard line, aided by some Nebraska penalties, and get in the red zone with enough time for one last play. After the quarterback rolled out to the right side, he fired an errant pass over the outstretched hands of his wide receiver and the game was over.
A straight week one performance of a team underestimating their opponent because they were not a big name and almost losing. That’s the key to all these week one game, is to take their outcomes with a grain of salt, some teams are not focused, while others may have new players or schemes, and others just trying to survive until their injuries heal or suspensions over.
No matter what we know two things to be true after this week, never count out Josh Rosen and UCLA, and Alabama will be in the national championship game because they eliminated their best competition after taking out QB De’Andre Francious in the opening match. Any thing else and any other team, nothing is for certain.