Winner: Penn State
Penn State came into Week 1 with a lot to prove. They ended the season strong last year after an 0-5 start. They opened the season against Wisconsin and that defense came to play. They held Wisconsin scoreless in the first half and outside of one drive, Wisconsin couldn’t get anything going.
Loser: The ACC’s hopes at a playoff team
This is a bold take. Clemson has an easy schedule the rest of the way so it is very possible that they run the table and get in as the fourth team. But I have some serious questions about that offensive line. Georgia’s defense pushed them around all night and the offense as a whole looked bad.
Miami and UNC were the two other teams that had high hopes of making a run this year and both teams came out of Week 1 0-1. Miami went up against Alabama so maybe they’ll be ok. Alabama came in and said we’re just going to keep rolling with new players. But they could not get anything going and D’Eriq King does not look healthy. If he can’t move like he did last year, I have serious questions about how high Miami’s ceiling is.
Sam Howell was supposed to be a Heisman hopeful and went into Blacksburg throwing 3 interceptions on the way to a loss. I still stick to my guns that VT is not going to be very good this season. The defense is decent but North Carolina receivers didn’t get open and the line stood up and let everybody through.
So Alabama is still pretty good, huh? They had to replace more than any team in the country and they opened the season against a ranked opponent. I thought they would win but the dominating performance from the jump is what shocked me. Bryce Young now leads the discussion in the Heisman talk, three running backs carried the ball for over four yards per carry, and John Metchie said I’m the next Bama receiver going in the first round of the draft. Can we fast forward already to Bama/Georgia in Atlanta? Speaking of Georgia:
Winner: Kirby Smart
Kirby has not been known as a big game coach during his tenure at Georgia. He had his guys ready to play. I thought going in that this would probably be the best defense in the country and they proved it all night long. In the regular season, this might be his best win in his career. This now sets Georgia up for a pretty open road to the playoff. We’ll see if he can take advantage of it but I’m very impressed after week 1.
I’ve been calling this since June. LSU fans and a lot of people around the country wanted to say that last year was just a hiccup and the Tigers would turn things around this year. I don’t know what tape you were watching. The pass defense was the worst in the country last year. The offensive line couldn’t move anybody to create holes to run through. There isn’t a quarterback there that you really believe in.
They went in to UCLA last night and got pushed around. Dorian Thompson-Robinson didn’t have a great week 1 but he came out and threw for 260 yards 3 touchdowns with a few big time plays. Zac Charbonnet followed up a good week 0 game with a 117 yard performance on only 11 carries. On the other side, UCLA rushed Max Johnson into making bad decisions and they still can’t run the ball.
Loser: The Pac-12
Outside of UCLA, who are you impressed by? USC got a win, Oregon barely escaped, Utah took a long time to get going against Weber State. Stanford was dominated by Kansas State. Oregon State lost to Purdue. And the grandaddy of them all. Washington, the favorite to win the Pac-12, paid FCS Montana to come in and beat them 13-7. There are things to be excited about in L.A. That could be the deciding game in the South with everyone else struggling.