A Look Around The Country

Top ranked teams struggle as first week of the season kicks off

As the sun faded on the first week of college football, there were a number of different games that come to mind. No. 1 Florida State escaped Jerry’s World with a 6 point win over unranked Oklahoma State. No. 2 Alabama was on the ropes the majority of the game against an unranked West Virginia team down in Atlanta. Yes, even the 5th ranked Buckeyes were losing at halftime against an unranked Navy squad in Baltimore. No. 7 UCLA pulled out only an 8 point victory over a bad Virginia team. Not to mention, the 9th ranked and SEC East favorite South Carolina Gamecocks were dismantled by a Johnny Football-less Texas A&M team. It was a weird first week.

The favorites to make it to the inaugural College Football Playoff all struggled against inferior, unranked opponents. Does this mean that these so called “favorites” aren’t as good as we all think? Or was it just a bunch of first game jitters? Well, as the season goes on we will find out who the true contenders and pretenders are. But I wouldn’t read too much into the Noles, Tide, and Buckeyes struggling. I expect them all to be in the Playoff conversation come late November.

Notable Games Last Week

Texas A&M 52 South Carolina 28

No Johnny Football? No problem!! New A&M quarterback, Kenny Hill, went 44 of 60 for 511 yards and three touchdowns. That is a huge stat line for a first game starter against a highly ranked opponent. It may very well be the system that HC Kevin Sumlin is running, but the Aggies are contenders in the SEC. The Gamecocks should drop considerably in the polls after this one and Steve Spurrier will have to go back to the drawing board. Losing Clowney and Shaw could be bigger than we think.

Georgia 45 Clemson 21

Todd Gurley left, Todd Gurley right, Todd Gurley up the middle. #3 for the Georgia Bulldogs solidified himself as a Heisman Trophy candidate after 198 yards rushing on 15 carries, 2 touchdowns, and a 100 yard kickoff return for a touchdown. He made it look easy against the Tigers. Mark Richt and the Bulldogs will contend for the SEC East Title and could find themselves in the Playoff if they play their cards right.

Florida State 37 Oklahoma State 31

The defending National Champion Seminoles opened their season against the Cowboys (not Jerry Jones’, but in his Taj Mahal Stadium) and got more of a test than they thought they would. Heisman Trophy Winner and crab leg connoisseur, Jameis Winston, struggled at times but ended up having a decent night. He went 25 of 40 for 370 yards and 2 touchdowns, one of which was a beautiful 28 yard run that landed him in the endzone. We learned that the Noles are beatable, but in a weak ACC they will be heavy favorites to be undefeated heading into the playoff. Oklahoma State has a lot to look forward to as they had the champs on the ropes late in the game. The Cowboys could also be in the playoff hunt late in November, only Baylor and Oklahoma pose a threat in the Big 12.

LSU 28 Wisconsin 24

Oh, Wisconsin. Gary Andersen and the Badgers had a 17 point lead go to nothing as Les Miles’ Tigers came roaring back to win the game late in the fourth quarter. Wisconsin QB Tanner McEvoy struggled most of the night and threw a pair of costly picks late in the game to help squander that lead. It still puzzles me why Andersen stuck with him while 2013 B1G honorable mention Joel Stave was on the bench, but what do I know. Melvin Gordon had a Heisman worthy first half then he mysteriously went away in the 3rd and 4th quarters. I heard rumors that he had a hamstring problem but nothing has been confirmed. That will be a puzzling game for folks in Madison for the rest of the season.

Big Games this Week

Michigan State at Oregon

Autzen Stadium will be rocking for this one as the defending Big Ten and Rose Bowl Champs roll into town. Both the Ducks and Spartans have a lot to prove and a win here could be huge down the road when being considered for the playoff. It will be Oregon speed against Michigan State toughness. It would be a big W for the Big Ten in terms of national respect. I strongly suggest you tune in for this battle.

Saturday, September 6 at 6:30pm on FOX

Virginia Tech at Ohio State

Home opener. Night Game at the newly renovated Shoe. LeBron may be in the house along with the best collection of 2015 recruits. Yea, this is going to be one hell of an atmosphere at 411 Woody Hayes Drive. Frank Beamer brings in an overmatched Hokie team but don’t think for a second that they plan on lying down for the Buckeyes. Expect the running game with Elliot, Samuel and Wilson to be much better. J.T. Barrett will also be more efficient. But the Buckeye D-Line you’ve been hearing about all summer will make their presence felt. Expect a lot of sacks.

Saturday, September 6 at 8pm on ESPN

Michigan at Notre Dame

The Irish and Wolverines will square off for the last time in the foreseeable future when they take the field Saturday. Yes, I probably hate these two teams just as much as you. But I love tradition and have always enjoyed watching these two battle it out in South Bend or Ann Arbor every year. It’s great for college football. Brady Hoke’s hot seat could be cooled off a bit with a win in this one but Everett Golson and Notre Dame have national title aspirations of their own. Although neither are highly ranked, expect one for the ages.

Saturday, September 6 at 7:30pm on NBC

Michigan Update

History did not repeat itself as the Wolverines were finally able to even up the series against those pesky Mountaineers 52-14. However, this was not your grandfather’s App State team. In 2007, they were coming off of a national championship in Div. 1-AA (now FCS). But they went 4-8 last season as they transition to the big boys. We will find out a lot about this team this Saturday when they take on the Irish in South Bend.

Heisman Watch

Jameis Winston, Florida State

The reigning Heisman winner went 25 of 40 for 370 yards and 2 touchdowns against Oklahoma State last week in the Cowboys Classic. He’ll face a much easier foe this week against Citadel? The Citadel? I have no clue what their called or where they’re from. Famous Jameis should be out by the 3rd quarter.

Marcus Mariota, Oregon

My Heisman pick at the start of the season went 14 of 20 for 267 yards along with 4 total touchdowns against South Dakota. We’ll find out how if he’s deserving of being my favorite when he goes up against a monster Michigan State defense on Saturday.

Bryce Petty, Baylor

Petty sat out the second half after taking a shot to his back on a touchdown run but he is expected to start his next game against Northwestern State. He completed 13 of 23 passes for 161 yards and two touchdowns, all in one half. IF he is healthy then I expect him to be in New York for the Heisman ceremony.

Todd Gurley, Georgia

The Bulldogs RB is quickly becoming the SEC’s most explosive player after his 293 all-purpose yard performance. He sliced and diced the Clemson defense all night. Georgia’s next game is in Columbia against South Carolina (9/13) so look for him to have another big day.

Rising Star

Kenny Hill, Texas A&M

Kenny Football!! The Aggies didn’t skip up a beat Thursday night after Hill went a whopping 44 of 60 for 511 yards and 3 touchdowns. After that performance he has to be included in the Heisman discussion and if he can win a few games in the SEC, we may seem him hoisting the trophy in December.

Dropping Fast

It’s too early in the season to say someone has dropped. Come back next week.

My Playoff if the Season ended Today

1. Florida State (37-31 win over Oklahoma State, plays Citadel this week) They were less than impressive this week but I will keep them at my top spot. They just have too much talent for me to drop them right now.

2. Oregon (62-13 win over South Dakota, plays Michigan State this week) The Ducks were very impressive this week against an inferior opponent. We will find out how good this team is this Saturday when they take on Sparty.

3. Auburn (45-21 win over Arkansas, plays San Jose State this week) The Tigers had a shaky first half but once they settled in against Bert’s Razorbacks they were able to pull away. They are still my favorite to win the SEC West.

4. Ohio State (34-17 win over Navy, plays Virginia Tech this week) Our Buckeyes struggled in the first half but if they can get by the Hokies on Saturday, they have a clear path to Sparty on Novemver 8. As of right now, they’ll hold onto the last spot in the Playoff.

Just Missed the Cut

5. Oklahoma (48-16 win over Louisiana Tech, plays Tulsa this week)

6. Michigan State (45-7 win over Jacksonville State, plays Oregon this week)

7. Georgia (45-21 win over Clemson, plays South Carolina next week)

8. Alabama (33-23 win over West Virginia, plays Florida Atlantic this week)

9. Baylor (45-0 win over SMU, plays Northwestern State this week)

10. UCLA (28-20 win over Virginia, plays Memphis this week)

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: