College football Week 1 roundup with the 5 things that matter, winners and losers, overrated and underrated parts of the weekend, and what it all means.
College Football Week 1 Roundup
– Irish, ACC, Smart Schools Winners & Losers
– ACC & Pac-12: One Really Big Thing
– Bama’s win: Most Overrated Thing
– Texas won a big game: Most Underrated Thing
– You’re up, Georgia: What It All Means, Week 1
Winners & Losers From Week 1
Winner: Notre Dame QB Jack Coan
Wisconsin sure could’ve used the poise of the former Badger against Penn State. Instead, the new Irish QB put on a show in the win over Florida State, throwing for 366 yards – the most from a Notre Dame passer since DeShone Kizer hit Syracuse for 471 in early 2016 – and four touchdowns with a pick.
Loser: Notre Dame run defense
The Irish allowed 264 rushing yards to the Noles. That makes it three games in the last four as a program allowing 200 or more on the ground. The one time it didn’t give up two bills was in the blowout CFP loss to Bama. Before last year’s Syracuse game, the Irish hadn’t allowed more than 100 yards in any of their previous six games.
Winner: Big 12
Reports of its demise weren’t greatly exaggerated, but they turned out to be a tad wrong. Not only is about to expand – most likely – with BYU, Cincinnati, Houston, and UCF, but it was solid on the field with West Virginia’s loss to Maryland the only blemish. Kansas State beat a decent Stanford team, Texas Tech got by Houston, and even Kansas picked up a victory.
Loser: American Athletic Conference
The league is about to lose three of its most important schools to the Big 12 unless it pulls out a whopper of an idea. Things weren’t much better on the field with the conference looking painfully thin. Tulsa lost to UC Davis from the FCS world, USF got shut out by NC State, Temple was annihilated by Rutgers, and Navy was ripped by Marshall as part of a 4-7 start for the league.
Winner: Mountain West
The conference appears to have survived the latest round of expansion – although it’s still ripe to get picked clean by the Pac-12 – with the Big 12 looking more towards the AAC. Yes, Colorado State and UNLV lost to FCS teams, and Boise State lost to UCF, but Nevada got by Cal and Utah State stunned Washington State. Overall, a 9-6 start isn’t bad.
Clemson’s loss mattered, but it’ll be okay. Miami getting destroyed by Alabama and North Carolina losing to Virginia Tech hurt mainly because of the rankings. Duke fumbling away a loss to Charlotte and Georgia Tech dropping the date with Northern Illinois made things even worse.
Winner: The smart schools
The US News & World Report college rankings might be a bit overblown, but they get the most pub. Among the best major national universities and their academic rankings, Notre Dame (19) survived FSU, UCLA (20) came up with a signature win over LSU, Michigan (24) looked great against Western Michigan, and USC (24), Florida (30), and Boston College (35) all won, but …
Loser: The really, really, really smart schools
Stanford (6) should’ve been better in a rough performance against Kansas State. Northwestern (9) got run over by Michigan State, Duke (10) suffered an embarrassing loss to Charlotte, Vanderbilt (14) came up with a whopping three points against East Tennessee State, and Rice (16) couldn’t hang with Arkansas.
NEXT: The really big Week 1 thing was …
The Really Big Week 1 Thing Was …
2/3rds of The Alliance just tapped out.
Oregon, UCLA, and USC didn’t lose.
Arizona State is 1-0, and so is Colorado, and so is Utah, but for all intents and purposes, the Pac-12 is all in now on the Ducks, Bruins, or Trojans to keep making more noise to make the league relevant on a big level.
There’s a problem with that, though. If Oregon loses to Ohio State this week, then that’s about it unless there’s a minor miracle from one of the LA teams. It’s hard to get too much love from a national audience when five teams in one division – Pac-12 North – lost games they shouldn’t have.
Eight of the 14 ACC teams are 1-0, but realistically, Clemson is the only one with a shot at the College Football Playoff.
The Tigers will probably roll through the rest of their slate and everything might work out just fine, but what if Ohio State is 13-0? What if Oklahoma wins the Big 12 title unscathed, and what if the SEC has at least two viable options for the CFP?
Let’s not even start with what happens if Cincinnati or UCF go 13-0.
Clemson no longer controls its own playoff destiny even if it rips through everything in its path. But it’s worse than that.
The ACC and Pac-12 need America to care about their respective conferences. There might be some buzz over parts of the Pac-12 as long as they keep winning, but will the ACC make any national noise now with Clemson, North Carolina, and Miami all combining to score 26 points in their three losses?
The Big Ten might have to do most of the Alliance’s heavy lifting.
NEXT: The most overrated thing was …
The Most Overrated Thing Was …
Alabama 44, Miami 13
The crazy part was that it was so obvious from the moment the game was announced.
That’s not fair. There are a whole lot of people out there licking their wounds after LSU -3 was supposed to be a sure-thing against UCLA, and just about everyone took Washington and North Carolina – and even Indiana – for granted. It’s not easy to come up with blowout wins over good teams – more on that in the next section – but Alabama was able to do just that … again.
The networks all have to hype up their games, and it’s more interesting when it seems like both sides are about to battle, but Miami didn’t have a prayer even if it was ranked 14th in the AP and 16th by the coaches.
The Bama defense was going to be way too good, the offense simply found more stars to replace the old ones, and it all looked so easy.
And what were the hot takes on Miami?
Manny Diaz and his staff shouldn’t have tried so hard to pressure Bryce Young. Miami has to go back to the drawing board and tackle better. The program has to start recruiting stronger and find the right guys …
Miami is fine. Alabama makes teams look like they need to start from scratch.
NEXT: The most underrated thing was …
The Most Underrated Thing Was …
Texas just rolled a ranked team.
It’s not like the Longhorns cranked up Eastern Creampuff Tech 38-18. They beat the both-poll No. 23 Louisiana Ragin’ Cajuns with relative ease.
Oh sure, Penn State going into Wisconsin and coming away with a nasty victory in a blast of a game was celebrated with balloons, and UCLA rightly got a ton of love for its win over LSU, but Texas just beat a ranked team by 20.
So either 1) Texas deserves more credit for coming up with a convincing victory to start the Steve Sarkisian era, or 2) the pollsters were getting cheeky by putting Louisiana in the top 25 in the first place, or 3) both.
We all correctly hammered on Washington losing at home to Montana, and got all over Oklahoma for doing everything possible to give away the game to Tulane.
Social media nitpicked the Ohio State win over Minnesota and Oregon’s fight over Fresno State. North Carolina got roasted for its performance against Virginia Tech, but it gets sort of blown off when a team comes out and does its job against the preconceived notion of the polls.
The same goes for Iowa.
It was 18 in both preseason polls, and No. 17 Indiana looked and played like it didn’t belong on the same field. From jump, the Hawkeyes were dominant in their 34-6 win – as if that was to be expected.
NEXT: What It All Means: Week 1
What It All Means: Week 1
Now it’s about Georgia.
Clemson will be favored by double-digits in every game the rest of the way. It’ll look great on offense once it’s not playing Georgia.
Ohio State might have been explosive against Minnesota, but that was a – let’s just say – rocky opening. It’ll be fine, of course, and the schedule isn’t all that bad.
Texas A&M did what it was supposed to do against Kent State, Florida was good against Florida Atlantic, and let’s not get into a twist about Oklahoma quite yet after doing everything possible to give the season away to Tulane.
Other than Clemson, all of the big boys who really do have an honest shot at the College Football Playoff survived.
Georgia just got the win it had to have. Let’s see what it can do with it.
The defense was stifling – don’t dog DJ Uiagalelei or that Tiger attack for having to go against that.
Also, don’t dog the Georgia offense. Clemson’s defense might just be the best yet in the Dabo era.
The Bulldogs will start to get its skill parts back. The receiving weapons weren’t healthy for JT Daniels, and the running game had to go against the brick wall of a Clemson defensive front.
They still found a way to get it done, and the scary part is that they pulled this off and will get appreciably better later in the year when the receivers are healthier.
This isn’t to suggest that Georgia is about to have its 2019 LSU moment, but …
UAB, South Carolina, at Vanderbilt, at Auburn, Kentucky. That’s a whole lot of warm-up time to get ready for Florida.
Missouri, at Tennessee, Charleston Southern, Georgia Tech. That’s the finishing kick, so in other words, there’s no excuse for anything less than 12-0 if Georgia gets by the Gators.
Do that, and in a four-best-team sort of way, Georgia deserves be in the College Football Playoff no matter what happens in the SEC Championship.
But first it has to make the putts.
The narrative before the Clemson showdown was how suffocating the pressure on Kirby Smart was to win a game of that magnitude. He did, and now take all of those expectations up about 100 notches.
This might not be a national championship season – that Alabama thing looks frightening – but it’s Indianapolis-or-bust now for the Dawgs.
This is what you wanted, Georgia fans. Your team is now deep in the national title chase, and it’s not even the second week of September.