The first week of college football is officially in the books! The opening weekend to the most exciting time in sports had everything that fans could have wanted. There was major upsets by FCS teams, the best teams in the nation dominated and Johnny Manziel turned into the evil Tim Tebow. With more big games slated this week, it’s time to take a look at where team’s landed on this week’s rankings.
Christion Jones was all over the place for the top ranked Crimson Tide in their 35-10 win over Virginia Tech. He opened the game with a 72-yard punt return for a touchdown. He followed it up late in the second with a 94-yard kickoff return for another touchdown. Finally, he ended the day with a 38-yard touchdown on a pass from AJ McCarron. This guy couldn’t be stopped, which is good for the defending national champions. The Tide looked a bit rusty, but will get the week off to prepare for a big match-up with Texas A&M on the 14th.
#2: Ohio State
Getting out to a quick start, OSU fans had to be getting worried during their 40-20 win against Buffalo. Two back-to-back touchdowns mid-second quarter by the Bulls put the game within reaching distance until a field goal in the fourth. QB Braxton Miller looked good, but should have posted bigger numbers, although he was suffering from leg cramps, which hindered him a bit. The Buckeyes will take on San Diego State this weekend in what should be an easy win. OSU is 3-0 all-time against the Aztecs (all three previous games played in Ohio as well).
Who needs Chip Kelly? Apparently not the Ducks who put up a school record 772 yards of total offense in their 66-3 win over FCS opponent Nicholls State. Oregon had three 100+ yard rushers, including QB Marcus Mariota, who also threw for 234 yards with one touchdown (Mariota also rushed for two touchdowns). While probably not a great opponent to gauge Oregon’s offensive or defensive ability, it’s good to see the Ducks are just as deadly as they were last year. The Ducks will host Virginia this weekend, a team that will be a sizable upgrade from last weekend.
While the rest of the top ten teams in the nation were in competition, Stanford will open up their season this week against San Jose State. The Cardinal are 51-14 all-time in this match-up and haven’t lost to SJSU since 2006. This game should be a good warm-up for QB Kevin Hogan as he gets use to the new look of Stanford’s offense now that a couple key playmakers are gone. SJSU has improved over the last few years, but don’t expect an upset here. Stanford will win this in easy fashion to win their fifth consecutive season opener.
Flying up the rankings this week is Clemson following their exciting, but kind of sloppy, 38-35 win over Georgia. QB Tajh Boyd’s performance leaves me with mixed feelings. His 270 yards and five total touchdowns was monster, but his 60% completion rating was the fourth worst of his last 14 games. Playing a top tier team is never easy, but Boyd still looks to be one of the best QBs in the nation. Clemson will play host to South Carolina State this weekend, looking to go 2-0 to open the season for the fourth straight year in a row.
#6: South Carolina
The only lighting that was striking in South Carolina’s 27-10 win over rival North Carolina was from Mother Nature. All off-season, we heard that DE Jadeveon Clowney was going to be a tour de force in 2013. Clowney’s game against UNC was pedestrian at best, recording just three tackles and forced to hit the sidelines for breathers multiple times. The offense was about average, with RB Mike Davis carrying the bulkhead of the yards at 115 and one touchdown. South Carolina needs to work on their conditioning and quick. A Week 2 match-up with Georgia is on the horizon and could spell trouble for them in a big way.
QB Teddy Bridgewater opened the season in grand fashion against Ohio, throwing for 355 yards and five touchdowns on 23 of 28 passing to lead the Cardinals to a 49-7 win. Louisville looked great defensively, holding Ohio to just 81 yards rushing on 28 attempts. RB Michael Dyer had a decent game as well, rolling up 48 yards and one touchdown in his first appearance with the team. Bridgewater and Louisville get Eastern Kentucky this weekend, which should be another easy game for them. Side note; is there any better last name than “Bridgewater”? The answer is no.
Cam Cameron’s first night as LSU’s offensive coordinator was a thriller as the Bayou Bengals snuck away from TCU 37-27. QB Zach Mettenberger looked a little more confident in the pocket, although his 50% completion rating was the lowest for him in six games. RB Terrence Magee might surpass Afred Blue as the Tiger’s go-to-guy on the rush as his 95 yards on 13 carries and two touchdowns helped propel the run game. LSU’s defense was, well, LSU’s defense, which means it was great as usual. LSU will host UAB this weekend in Baton Rouge to move to 2-0. The only meeting between these two teams was in 2000, where UAB upset LSU 13-10.
#9: Texas A&M
TAMU drops a few spots this week as a byproduct of their ugly 52-31 win over Rice. Without “Johnny Football”, the Aggies seemed out of sync despite Matt Joeckel having a decent run as their QB. Rice, who was 41st in the nation in 2012 for total offense, dropped 509 yards on TAMU, the most since their 59-57 shoot-out with Louisiana Tech in 2012. Manziel’s three touchdowns in the second half following his “suspension” did help energize the team, but they still don’t look like a team that could beat Bama at this point. A Week 2 match-up against Sam Houston State needs to be impressive for me to move them up the board.
What could possibly make Georgia’s 38-35 loss to Clemson worse? How about losing star WR Malcolm Mitchell for the season? If you guessed that, you are correct cause that is exactly what happened to the Bulldogs. Mitchell is out for 2013 now after injuring his anterior cruciate ligament celebrating RB Todd Gurley’s 75-yard touchdown run. Has nobody ever learned anything from Bill Gramatica? Georgia’s defense also looked very shaky at times, making matters worse. Georgia will now limp home looking to avoid their first 0-2 start since 2011 as a very strong South Carolina comes to town.
#11: Florida State
E.J. Who? The Seminoles jump in the polls this week based off the potential of this team with QB Jameis Winston under center. In Florida State’s 41-13 win over Pittsburgh, Winston was an unbelievable 25 of 27 passing, finishing with 356 yards and four touchdowns through the air, while adding another one on the ground. If this is what we can expect the rest of the season, FSU could be a very dangerous team. The Seminole secondary looked tough, nabbing two interceptions. FSU will get this week off due to playing on Monday night and will return on the 14th with a home game against Nevada.
Much like Oregon, Texas set a school record for total offense, gaining 715 yards in their 56-7 win over New Mexico State. Unlike Oregon, Texas’s first half was some of the ugliest looking football that happened last weekend. Don’t let the score fool you, this game went in to half 14-7 in favor of the Longhorns. I’m still not completely sold on QB David Ash, who went 20 of 28 for 343 yards and four touchdowns, but gave up two interceptions. Texas will travel to Provo to take on BYU in what should be a considerably bigger match-up than NMSU was.
#13: Oklahoma State
It took six pass attempts in Oklahoma State’s 21-3 win against Mississippi State for Coach Mike Gundy to realize that QB J.W. Walsh was his man. QB Clint Chelf looked inefficient in his first two drives. Originally a two-QB system, Walsh played the rest of the game, finishing with 135 yards passing, 125 yards rushing and one touchdown. In a world where dual-threat QBs are becoming more desirable, Walsh fits the bill and has already been named the starter for OKST this week against UTSA. Gundy has made it clear that they are abandoning the two-QB system for the immediate future.
Even after recording a 34-0 win over ULM, there really isn’t anything here to be impressed with when it comes to Oklahoma. The Sooners, at this point, are a one dimensional team. QB Trevor Knight showed us some decent rushing, running for 103 yards on 13 carries, but his 86 yards passing leave a lot to be desired. Playing a better team, it’s hard to say if the Sooners would have scored more than 20 points. West Virginia should be a much better match-up for Oklahoma in determining if this team has what it takes to be competitive in the Big 12 in 2013.
We will give the Gator his due on this one. QB Jeff Driskel wasn’t THAT bad in Florida’s 24-6 win over Toledo. Throwing for 153 yards and one touchdown on 17 of 22 passing, Driskel was serviceable, but still nothing great. Picking up the slack for him is RB Mack Brown who rushed 112 yards and two touchdowns, eclipsing his totals from last season. Florida’s defense held Toledo to only one converted third-down on 13 attempts and held them to just 205 yards of total offense. Am I sold on this team? Absolutely not. Miami (FL) this weekend should be a much better test and show if this team is real or not.
Michigan lost a lot this past off-season, but you couldn’t tell in their 59-9 victory over Central Michigan. Using a fairly balanced offense, Michigan rushed for six touchdowns as a team and was 10 of 15 on third down conversions. QB Devin Gardner, who rushed for two of the six, should have had a more impressive day through the air, but settled for 162 yards while throwing two interceptions. The Wolverines play host to Notre Dame this weekend, which will be their toughest match-up till late in the season. A win for Michigan could help them propel up them up this list.
If a three point win over Wyoming is what we can expect from Nebraska this year, it’s going to be a long season. The Cowboys’ 602 yards of total offense Saturday marks the third straight game dating back to 2012 the Huskers have allowed 550+ yards. Nebraska was completely one dimensional and showed very little use for QB Taylor Martinez’s arm or the passing game. Playing Southern Miss at home this weekend, the Huskers need to develop an effective passing game and figure out how to stop the ball before their Week 3 match-up against UCLA.
#18: Notre Dame
Throwing for a career high 346 yards, QB Tommy Rees made Irish fans a little more confident that he was the right choice for starter in Notre Dame’s 28-6 win over Temple. It would have been nice to see a bigger margin of victory as Temple had allowed 30+ points per game in their last six games, but can’t be too disappointed with what the Irish ended with. Notre Dame’s first major challenge of the season is this weekend with a trip to Ann Arbor to take on Michigan. The Fighting Irish haven’t won in Ann Arbor since 2005 and are 7-13 all-time on the road there.
If you were to look at just the offensive totals for Northwestern’s 44-30 win over Cal, it would be pretty hard to tell which team was which. Having nearly identical stats, this game was really decided by two late turnovers by the Golden Bears. QB Trevor Siemian was left to man the passing game all by himself after fellow QB Kain Colter went down with a concussion and did a decent job despite throwing two interceptions. Hosting Syracuse this weekend, Northwestern is another one of those teams that need to show some improvement to avoid dropping further in the rankings.
Going into halftime with a four point lead, UCLA had a massive second half to lead them to a decent 58-20 win over Nevada. RB Jordan James did most of the work, rushing for 115 yards on 21 carries and a touchdown. QB Brett Hundley had a good game as well, throwing for 274 yards and attributing for four total touchdowns. The Bruins are picking up well from last year and could be a serious threat in the PAC-12. They will take this week off to prepare for a road trip next week to Lincoln to take on Nebraska.
In their 45-0 win over Massachusetts, Wisconsin did what they always do, run the ball a lot. The Badgers had three players gain over 100 yards as the team handed the ball off 70% of the time on offense. While some credit should be given to QB Joel Stave and the passing game, a majority of their yards came off of two plays, so it’s hard to even recognize them as being part of this game. Expect a lot of the same to happen this weekend at Camp Randall as Tennessee Tech comes to town. The Badgers usually have one 70+ point game a season and this might be it.
As I was pulling out my checkbook and figuring out how to donate to Washington’s athletic fund during their 38-6 beat-down of Boise State, I really couldn’t help but smile. After losing by two points in the MAACO Bowl to the Broncos just a few months ago, it seemed only fitting that the Huskies would hand Coach Chris Petersen his worst loss as a head coach (a feat they have now down twice). The new, quicker Washington offense looked really impressive and exposed BSU’s defense all day. The Huskies will have the week off and will get a chance on the 14th to show us if they are the real deal with a road trip to take on Illinois.
P.S. From the bottom of our black and gold hearts, thank you for everything you did last weekend.
TCU was like the little engine that could, then realized it couldn’t in their 37-27 loss to LSU. QB Casey Pachall didn’t look very good at all, throwing for just 76 yards and one interception while splitting time with back-up Trevone Boykin. Chalk it up to LSU’s incredible defense, but at times it just seem like TCU wasn’t even remotely ready for this game. The Horned Frogs will try to rebound this week with a home game against SE Louisiana. TCU needs to show a lot of improvement to avoid falling off this list completely.
#24: Northern Illinois
For Northern Illinois to have any legitimacy down the road, they needed their 30-27 win over Iowa in a bad way. Having only two games against BCS conferences, a loss to either Iowa or Purdue could spell the end of their return to a major bowl. QB Jordan Lynch helped the Huskies out offensively, but it was the defense that was the most impressive. It was the beautiful interception by Jimmie Ward late in the fourth quarter (the last of three turnovers by the Hawkeyes) that helped NIU eventually get into field goal range to win the game. Northern Illinois has the week off as they prepare to head out west to take on the Mighty Vandals of Idaho in Moscow. Upset in the making? Highly doubtful……
Having trouble sleeping? Might I suggest watching USC’s snore of a 30-13 win over Hawaii? Holding the Warriors to 23 yards rushing and forcing four turnovers might be the only impressive thing about this game. USC still doesn’t have a clear-cut starting quarterback and their offense looked mediocre at best. Coach Lane Kiffin has got to be feeling the heat in LA right now. If they somehow managed to lose to Washington State this weekend, it will be hard for him to walk into the Coliseum without getting pelted by a rotten tomatoes or cabbage (because apparently the stadium is surrounded by medieval peasants in this scenario).
DROPPED: Oregon State
ON WATCH: Cincinnati, Baylor & Michigan State