New guest writer Andy Normile reacts to some of the winners and losers in week 1 of college football.
With some games still to be played, you can check out the full College Football TV UK Guide here.
After what must be the longest off-season in any sport, week 1 produced the high drama, excitement and crazy plays that we as College Football fans crave.
It all started with the Backyard Brawl, wonderful to see this fixture back, with all the passion, intensity and rivalry that makes this sport so special, as well as an exciting game, won 38-31 by the Pittsburgh Panthers. No one really knows where the Conference realignment will take us and what that will do for the schedules, but for the good of the game, it’s imperative that we keep and maintain these rivalry games.
Big winners in week 1 include :
Their 22 defence is looking just as good as the 21 Championship winning one, combined with some outstanding QB play from Stetson Bennett (25-31, 368 yards, 2TD’s) meant they ran out easy winners v Utah and looked like true defending champions.
Despite a resolute Notre Dame defence, and losing star WR Jaxon Smith-Njigba to injury early, they ground out an ugly victory, which will surely serve them well later in the season when the committee makes those all-important rankings.
A win on the back of Anthony Richardson, both through the air and on the ground (274 total yards, 3 rushing TDs) showed he has all the class and tools that Gator fans have been telling us about. If he can maintain some consistency and stay injury free, then the Heisman becomes a 3-horse race.
Vanderbilt, Kansas and Nebraska
Wow, when was the last time these three teams were all mentioned together in the winners’ section? Vanderbilt is now 2-0, which ties the number of wins they had over the past two seasons, Kansas ( another team who had only 2 wins in the past 2 seasons) hung 56 points on Tennessee Tech, reaping the benefits of giving coach Lance Leipold a contract extension, and Nebraska finally managed to turn a tight game (17 -17 in the 3rd quarter) into a win, keeping Scott Frost in a job, at least for another week. Although I’m not tipping any of these teams for playoff success, it must be good to be a Commodore, Jayhawk or Husker fan this morning and hold your head up high, rather than have to hide under the duvet.
The aforementioned losses by Utah and Oregon as well as Colorado’s loss to TCU, already leaves the Pac-12 trailing in interconference play, something which has seen them miss out on playoff places in past years. The only bright spot might be USC, but they may well need to win tough road games at Stanford, Utah, UCLA and v Notre Dame for the Pac-12 to be represented at college football’s top table.
The loss to Ohio State leaves them without that signature win, and without a conference title to play for, playoff participation might be difficult (see last year after the Cincinnati loss) They still have the opportunity to beat Clemson and USC, or hope the Buckeyes go undefeated.
Week 1 always brings a plethora of Power 5 v Group of 5, and inevitably an upset. This week it was the Hokies who went down to a very good Old Dominion team, although we might have seen this coming, as it was Virginia Tech’s 2nd loss to ODU in 4 years.
Just as Power 5 v Group of 5 always produces an upset, some huge victories (Michigan, USC, Alabama), so it also produces some very close and crazy games.
Narrowly avoided defeat (21-20) against East Carolina, but only after the Pirates kicker missed both a field goal and PAT in the last 3 minutes
Had an even closer escape against perennial giant killers Appalachian State winning 63-61, a truly wild game, which included the Mountaineers missing two late 2-point conversions, the second only possible after the Tar Heels had returned an onside kick when simply downing it would have allowed them to run out the clock. The 4th quarter also featured an incredible 62 points, something even veteran head coach Mack Brown wouldn’t have experienced before.
Iowa – Iowa played traditional Iowa football. The Hawkeyes’ ever miserly defence allowed S.Dakota State only3 points, which is good because the offence only scored 7 points
College Football is back!
And we still have Florida State @ LSU, Clemson @Georgia Tech to come
Thanks to Andy for producing the College Football Week 1 winners and losers. You can see more of his work here in the future!
Feature Image Credit: Florida Gators