Welcome to the first of our weekly columns detailing the important things that any College Football fan should know heading into a work week.
Week 1 was exciting because College Football was back, but otherwise lacked the on-field fireworks we expect to see later in the season. The closest thing to a major upset was Northwestern winning at home vs. Stanford.
Fun fact: Home teams dominated the weekend, going 52-31-2 against the Vegas points spread.
A major storyline from week 1 turned out to be crippling injuries to big-named players. Among the injured:
+Pittsburgh RB and last year’s ACC Player of the Year James Conner (torn MCL)
+Notre Dame RB Tarean Folston (torn ACL)
+Clemson WR Mike Williams (“small” neck fracture)
+BYU QB Taysom Hill (fractured foot)
+Syracuse QB Terrel Hunt (torn achilles)
+UCLA DL Eddie Vanderdoes (torn ACL)
+Kansas State QB Jesse Ertz (undisclosed knee injury)
On to the questions:
1. Who is contending for a spot in the College Football Playoff?
No losses or major changes among the pre-season favorites. Our main takeaways:
Buckeyes biggest problem: who is leading Heisman candidate?#1 Ohio State actually trailed Virginia Tech 17-14 at halftime on Monday, but turned on the jets big time in a 42-24 win. Cardale Jones was Urban Meyer’s choice in the well-documented starting quarterback battle. Cardale looked great, and backup J.T. Barrett played in the 4th quarter once the game was decided. Running back Ezekiel Elliott also had a big night. But it was QB-turned-wide receiver Braxton Miller whose star shone brightest with two highlight-reel touchdowns, including the spin move below.
Alabama served notice in a dominating 35-17 win vs. overmatched Wisconsin. Running back Derrick Henry looked like a legit Heisman candidate with 72 of his 147 rushing yards coming after contact en route to 3 TDs. The Tide have yet to pick a full-time QB and played Jake Coker as well as Cooper Bateman. Coker looked slightly sharper and played most of the first 3 quarters, but we’ll keep an eye on the QB situation going forward.
Notre Dame may be legit. Lefty QB Malik Zaire dominated in the Irish’s 38-3 stomping of Texas. The loss of RB Tarean Folston will be a setback for the Irish, but his injury came in just the second drive Saturday and his replacements performed admirably so far.
Baylor cruises as expected, while TCU showed signs of rust. New Baylor starting QB Seth Russell had no problem getting acclimated, and Baylor beat SMU by the exact 35-pt spread that Vegas predicted, 56-21. Meanwhile, TCU’s Heisman-candidate QB Trevone Boykin took a bit longer to get going vs. Minnesota. The Horned Frogs were 17-pt favorites on the road but scrapped to a 23-17 win behind 2 Boykin TDs, one in the air and one on the ground.
2. Who is contending for the ACC Championship?
Takeaway: The favorites won easy while other teams in the conference struggled.
The conference favorites still appear to be Clemson, Florida State, and Georgia Tech, all of whom won easily vs. cupcake opponents on Saturday. FSU fans got a first look at transfer QB Everett Golson, who was sharp in a 59-16 romp over Texas State (they were favored by 28).
Overall it was a bit of a tough weekend for the ACC vs. other conferences, as UNC dropped a Thursday night game it should’ve won vs. South Carolina, Virginia was handled easily by UCLA, and Louisville’s comeback attempt vs. Auburn in Atlanta fell short.
3. Who is contending for the SEC Championship?
Takeaway: the SEC West is loaded, and Bama is really good (again).
Texas A&M was the most positive surprise, demolishing a ranked Arizona State team in convincing fashion.
Auburn looked slightly shakier in its win over Louisville; much-hyped QB Jeremy Johnson showed flashes of brilliance but also made some regrettable decisions. He’ll need to sharpen up for Auburn to have a chance in the tight SEC West, let alone in two weeks in Baton Rouge against LSU.
4. Who are the favorites for the Heisman trophy?
Ohio State and Bama may be favorites for CFP and Heisman, as the aforementioned Cardale Jones, Braxton Miller, and Derrick Henry made the biggest statements.
We’d also like to introduce UCLA freshman Quarterback Josh Rosen, who burst onto the scene vs. Virginia with 351 passing yards and 3 TDs. Running back Myles Jack said before the year that Rosen could win the Heisman, and he certainly looked that way on Saturday…
5. Did you see ___ this weekend?
Here were some of our other favorite moments, outcomes, and oddities from the weekend that was:
All bets are off in Athens.. Georgia wins easily in shortened game
After a second lightning delay and with the outcome decided, coaches decided to call the #9 Georgia/Louisiana-Monroe game with 9 minutes left and the Dawgs up 51-14. NBD, right? Well, not unless you bet – Georgia was favored by 35, but because the game didn’t last at least 55 minutes all bets were nullified.
Controversial band formation has us asking “who approved that?”
The Kansas State band apologized for its attempt to depict rival mascot Kansas Jayhawk battling with the Starship Enterprise that ended up looking like… well… not that.
Oregon QB Cheap Shot
New Oregon transfer QB helped the Ducks beat his old team, Eastern Washington, 61-42. Adams guided the ship as the Ducks amassed 731 total yards, the 6th time they’ve reached 700 yards since 2010 (tops in the Pac 12). The game had an ugly moment when an ex-teammate took a shot on a sliding Adams, knocking him from the lineup. Adams is expected to play this Saturday night when the Ducks square off against Michigan State in a game that could have CFP implications.
Play of the week: BYU wins on Hail Mary heave at the last second
BYU won the most exciting game but also got the toughest news of the weekend, as star senior QB Taysom Hill will miss the season with a fractured foot. Nevertheless, this Hail Mary victory over Nebraska was amazing – watch #11 hug the ref after the touchdown!
Final word: Bowling Green player loses shoe; fakes injury