We’ve all heard what happened in Game 1 of the college football season, but let’s focus on the sportsmanship that took place afterward.
I know, I know, it seems like it couldn’t be true… But here we are. Clemson is finally done. They lost. Texas is atop the Big 12 standings. For the moment, we can all be happy and excited that we won’t have to sit through the fanbases of schools like Oklahoma and Oklahoma State complaining about not making it into the playoff, and we can all breathe a sigh of relief that this college football season is finally over.
When people look at your football team before the season, they are making predictions based on the outcome of previous seasons. But, once the season starts, the outcome is hard to predict. But, here is how I see it.. Read more about big 12 conference teams and let us know what you think.
No one will be able to defeat Alabama. Clemson’s dynasty has come to an end. UCLA is the finest university in the Western United States. Georgia’s offense is ineffective.
If the Heisman Trophy and the College Football Playoff national championships were awarded after Week 1, Georgia’s 41-year title drought would be over, and we’d be seeing former Texas A&M quarterback Kenny Hill in those Heisman House ads every weekend.
Instead, the college football season will go from now through early December to decide who will make the playoffs, and everything we believe we know will be resolved in that time.
Here are a few examples of overreactions from the first week:
Alabama is on par with last year’s performance.
In a 44-13 win against Miami in Atlanta on Saturday, the reigning national champion Crimson Tide looked just as dominating. In his first start, Alabama quarterback Bryce Young threw for 344 yards and four touchdowns, Ohio State transfer wide receiver Jameson Williams averaged 31.5 yards per reception, and tight end Cameron Latu scored two touchdowns. Alabama’s defense, which was expected to be excellent, gave up just 2.8 yards per carry and caused three turnovers.
The Crimson Tide seemed to be the greatest team in the FBS, but it’s still too early to declare them national champs. With quarterback D’Eriq King returning from a severe knee injury, the Hurricanes were arguably rated too high in preseason surveys. Nick Saban’s teams are known for blowing away nonconference opponents in neutral-site games to start the season. It would have been the equivalent of telling Eddie Van Halen he needed to practice for Guitar Hero. You’ll be destroyed no matter how much and how hard you practice.
Alabama will play Florida (Sept. 18) and Texas A&M (Sept. 19) on the road in the SEC (Oct. 9). If the Rebels are really stronger on defense, a home game against them on Oct. 2 might be more hazardous than anticipated.
The ACC’s chances of making the playoffs are over.
Coach Dabo Swinney and the Clemson Tigers have won six straight ACC championships and have been in every College Football Playoff since 2015. Icon Sportswire/John Byrum
Last week, my colleague Andrea Adelson and I explored an ACC apocalypse scenario: Clemson loses to Georgia, North Carolina loses to Virginia Tech, and Alabama and Ole Miss thrash Miami and Louisville, respectively. Unfortunately for the conference, all of these things occurred on the first weekend, and it was much worse than that. Northern Illinois, who didn’t win a game in 2020, defeated Georgia Tech. Charlotte, which has never beaten a Power 5 opponent, defeated Duke. When is the first basketball practice?
Clemson, which has won six straight ACC championships and has been in every CFP since 2015, has an uphill fight to return to the top four. Even if they win out, the Tigers’ remaining nonconference schedule (FCS South Carolina State, hapless UConn, and rebuilding South Carolina) coupled with the fact that they won’t face Miami, North Carolina, or Virginia Tech in ACC crossover games may put them behind a two-loss club.
Despite how awful the Tigers looked, it’s a stretch to suggest that coach Dabo Swinney’s dynasty is gone. No one has performed better in the past six years than Alabama. However, the way Georgia’s defense handled Clemson’s offensive line, sacking quarterback D.J. Uiagalelei seven times and holding the Tigers to just two running yards, must be worrisome. The Tigers were the first team to go head-to-head with Alabama and win when it meant the most. The Tigers, on the other hand, don’t seem to be as quick, powerful, or physical as Alabama or Georgia this season.
The Pac-12 championship will be decided in Los Angeles.
In their season-opening victory against LSU, Zach Charbonnet and the UCLA rushing attack averaged 7.3 yards per carry. Icon Sportswire/Jevone Moore
Coming into the season, it was widely assumed that UCLA’s Chip Kelly and USC’s Clay Helton were on the hot seat. The Bruins seem to be the top team in the Pac-12 after only two weeks, and the Trojans may be close behind them.
UCLA’s 38-27 win at the Rose Bowl on Saturday night wasn’t unexpected, given LSU’s problems on both sides of the ball last season. Indeed, I predicted it last week. The Bruins’ ability to run over the Tigers at the line of scrimmage was incredible. UCLA’s running backs gained 7.3 yards per carry on average, while LSU’s gained 2.3. The Bruins racked up 470 yards of total offense, including 210 yards on the ground. In addition, the defense was more physical. Even more concerning for the Tigers was the fact that they were completely outcoached.
Meanwhile, the Trojans battled through the first three quarters before pulling away with a 30-7 win against San Jose State in the fourth. After finishing dead last in the Pac-12 in 2020, USC’s running game was encouraging: the Trojans rushed for 160 yards (and 10th in each of the two seasons before that). Kedon Slovis completed 24 passes, with Drake London receiving half of them. He won’t be able to accomplish anything on his own.
Oregon looked shaky in a 31-24 win over Fresno State, and standout defensive end Kayvon Thibodeaux’s availability for Saturday’s game against Ohio State is in doubt due to an ankle injury. Dru Mathis, Oregon’s starting weakside linebacker, is sidelined with a left knee injury. The Ducks, as sloppy as they were in the opening, will almost certainly have a say in the Pac-12 battle.
The top team in the Big 12 is Texas.
Texas coach Steve Sarkisian won his first game as a head coach, but his Longhorns are just a six-point favorite against Arkansas on Saturday. Eric Gay/AP Photo
The Longhorns couldn’t have asked for a better first game under new coach Steve Sarkisian than a 38-18 win against Louisiana. Texas’ Hudson Card threw for 224 yards and two touchdowns in his first start, Bijan Robinson had 176 yards of offense (it’s amazing what happens when you give him the ball), and the special teams were solid — aside from an early 83-yard punt return for a touchdown that was wiped out by a block in the back. In many respects, the Longhorns were free of the errors and bad choices that plagued them throughout Tom Herman’s tenure.
Of all, proclaiming the Longhorns “back” after only one game is akin to starting a new turnover chain while you’re down 27-0. Texas is just a six-point favorite over Arkansas in Saturday’s game, according to Las Vegas oddsmakers (7 p.m. ET, ESPN and the ESPN App). Remember, with UT, we’ve been here before.
However, the Longhorns seemed to be a step ahead of Big 12 favorites Oklahoma and Iowa State.
The Sooners were outscored 21-3 in the second half to barely beat Tulane 40-35. Quarterback Spencer Rattler, the preseason Heisman Trophy favorite, threw two interceptions, and the Sooners were outscored 21-3 in the second half.
What’s the good news? Rattler was able to complete 30 out of 39 passes to a total of nine different players. Kennedy Brooks, a running back, averaged 6.2 yards per carry. At halftime, the Sooners led by 23 points. The defense recorded four sacks and five additional hits on quarterback Michael Pratt. The Sooners will play four more times before facing Texas in Dallas on Oct. 9, giving them plenty of opportunities to improve.
Even more puzzling was Iowa State’s 16-10 win against FCS opponent Northern Iowa. The fact that the Cyclones had never had to cope with such high preseason expectations concerned me. When a school like Iowa State succeeds in winning big games and earning a spot in a New Year’s Six bowl, everyone, including the head coach, usually departs (see UCF and Scott Frost). Coach Matt Campbell, on the other hand, stayed. QB Brock Purdy, tailback Breece Hall, and tight end Charlie Kolar all did.
Given Iowa State’s history of sluggish beginnings, we shouldn’t have been shocked when they got off to such a poor start. In August and September, Campbell’s teams are 8-11. The Cyclones’ season began with a 31-14 defeat against Louisiana in 2020. They defeated Northern Iowa 29-26 in three overtimes in their 2019 opener after starting 1-3 in 2018.
Last season, Iowa State came back to finish 9-3 and reach the Big 12 championship game. The Cyclones will try to rebound back in their home game versus Iowa on Saturday (4:30 p.m. ET, ABC and the ESPN App). The greatest flaw in Campbell’s career has been his teams’ 0-4 record versus the Hawkeyes in rivalry games.
In the Big Ten, Ohio State will be tested for the first time.
In Ohio State’s season-opening win against Minnesota, wide receiver Chris Olave had four catches for 117 yards and two touchdowns. Harrison Barden is a character in the film Harrison Barden -Source: USA TODAY Sports
Under coach Ryan Day, the Buckeyes are 16-0 against Big Ten opponents after beating Minnesota 45-31 in the season opener. Ohio State quarterback C.J. Stroud overcame jitters in his first start to pass for 294 yards and four touchdowns, running backs Miyan Williams and TreVey Henderson showed big-play pace, and wideout Chris Olave was silky smooth once again.
With seven new starters, Ohio State’s defense exhibited some growing pains. Mohamed Ibrahim rushed for 163 yards and two touchdowns for the Gophers before departing with a season-ending leg injury late in the third quarter. Minnesota gained 203 yards on the ground and held the ball for almost 39 minutes.
It was a concerning indication for a defense that was already struggling in 2020. In their absence, the Buckeyes started two freshmen in place of starting cornerbacks Cameron Brown and Sevyn Banks. Safety Josh Proctor was also injured in the game against Minnesota. Day refused to comment on their availability for the Oregon game on Tuesday.
Will the Ohio State Buckeyes be challenged in the Big Ten?
In Week 1, Michigan State may have been the league’s greatest surprise. On the road, the Spartans thrashed Northwestern 38-21. Kenneth Walker III, a Wake Forest transfer, rushed for 264 yards and four touchdowns.
With a 47-14 thrashing over Western Michigan, Michigan gave its hungry supporters something to cheer. It won’t help that wide receiver Ronnie Bell is out for the season due to a knee injury.
Even more remarkable, Iowa’s defense crushed Indiana 34-6, allowing just 77 running yards and intercepting three passes.
In a 16-10 victory against Wisconsin, Penn State’s defense was almost as outstanding. The Badgers went scoreless on four trips within the Nittany Lions’ 25 yard line, including three inside the 10 yard line. Before halftime, the Lions had just one first down and only 50 running yards. Before Penn State’s game against Ohio State on Oct. 30, there is still work to be done on offense.
This season, Georgia will not score on offense.
Quarterback JT Daniels may have only half-joked when he told reporters after Georgia’s 10-3 victory against Clemson that the Bulldogs’ defense is so strong that they only need to score four points to win. Georgia’s defense was impressive, but its offense fell short, even playing against one of the top defensive lines in the country.
The Bulldogs did a good job in pass protection, allowing just one sack to Daniels, but the idea was for him to throw short throws and get rid of the ball fast. Late in the fourth quarter, when Georgia needed to run the ball to preserve its small advantage, the Bulldogs ran nine times in a row to run out the clock.
Georgia was missing many key pass catchers, including wide receivers George Pickens (knee), Dominick Blaylock (knee), and Kearis Jackson (knee), as well as tight ends Darnell Washington (foot) and Arik Gilbert (personal reasons). Pickens and Gilbert are unlikely to return very soon, but the rest of the lineup should gradually return. Until then, the Bulldogs will continue to win games by relying on their defense and ground game.
Texas is not the defending national champions. If we’re being honest, Texas is not even a top tier SEC team. Texas has no top tier SEC players. Texas has no top tier quarterbacks. Texas has no top tier receivers. Texas has no top tier running backs. Texas has no top tier coaches. Texas has no top tier talent. Texas will not win the Big 12. Stop it.. Read more about ncaa football playoffs and let us know what you think.
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