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Week One Reflections


Week 1 is not all the way over. Clemson and Duke play on Monday Night. I don’t have high hopes that anything interesting will come out of that game. For my purposes, week 1 is in the bag. It is so good having this sport back. Fans are melting down after one quarter. Teams we thought would be good or bad are just the opposite. And, above all, the return of early-season college special teams. There was an absolute doozy of a finish to a game that absolutely nobody watched that deserves all of our attention.


With that said, here are some thoughts on the extended opening weekend.

 

Colorado Deserves The Hype

Coach Prime was the biggest talking point of the offseason (realignment does not count). He notoriously ran off most of the roster and brought in a massive transfer portal class. Effectively, Colorado did not have a spring practice. Expectations for this team, for those who “know ball” were quite low. It seemed impossible to throw together a collection of players with a small window of preparation to take on 2022’s national runner-up. And yet, Deion did just what he said he was going to do. Shedeur Sanders set a school record for passing yards. The Buffs had four receivers go for 100 yards. Travis Hunter put on the best two-way performance since the leather helmet days.1 Colorado was more than up for the challenge and pulled off the upset of the 17th-ranked Horn Frogs.

I think anyone considering Colorado as a Pac-12 contender after one week is overreacting, but reaching a bowl game certainly seems much more likely now than it did as week 1 was kicking off.

 

The Pac-12 Is Going Out In A Blaze Of Glory

The Pac-12 may be the deepest conference in college football this year. There appear to be at least four teams that have legitimate conference championship expectations. The combined record of the teams in its conference is 12-0, with an average margin of victory of nearly four touchdowns. The Pac-12 also finished 8-1 against the spread against the FBS. A banger of a weekend for the conference that is going out in style.

  • USC is 2-0. Caleb Williams has pulled off multiple “there’s no way” plays in just eight quarters. USC won 66-14 over Nevada.

  • Washington demolished a decent Boise State defense. Penix threw for 450 yards and five touchdowns. Odunze, McMillan, and Polk each had at least 95 yards and one touchdown. Washington beat Boise State 56-19.

  • Oregon scored 81 points. Eighty. One. Yes, it was against an FCS opponent. Oregon has played plenty of FCS opponents in the past 15 years. They haven’t scored 81 in any of those games. A good confidence builder for the Ducks. Bo Nix threw for 287 yards and three touchdowns in just over one half of play.

  • Utah dominated Florida 24-11 on Thursday night, without Cam Rising. The Gators looked poorly coached and Utah took advantage of it

  • Colorado - see previous section.

  • UCLA beat a tough Coastal Carolina team 27-13. Ethan Garbers started at quarterback, but it looks like 5-star freshman recruit Dante Moore won the job with his showing: 143 yards and two touchdowns. He did toss a bad interception in the end zone late in the game.

  • Stanford exhibited more creativity on offense in a win over Hawai’i than they did at any point of the last few years of David Shaw’s tenure.

  • Cal and Washington State both crushed group of five schools, North Texas and Colorado State, respectively.

  • Jaden Rashada and Arizona State looked great for a half against Southern Utah and then held on in the second half for a victory. A three-hour lightning/dust storm delay excuses the lackluster second-half performance for me.

In total, it was a great opening week for a conference that has taken a ton of heat for its performance on the field since the start of the playoff era and its lack of institutional stability brought on by the realignment craze. I will miss this conference and I hope it has a strong season on its way out.

 

Quick Hits

  • Florida State turned a competitive game into a blowout with an eight-minute surge spanning the end of the 3rd quarter into the early part of the 4th quarter. LSU had the lead after a violent first half between two hard-hitting teams. LSU’s defense wore down and Jordan Travis outdueled Jayden Daniels. Keon Coleman scored three touchdowns in his Seminole debut. A mighty impressive start for Florida State.

  • Ohio State might have a quarterback issue. Devin Brown barely played, which was surprising given Day’s comments last week. Kyle McCord was not terrible against Indiana, but it was not a performance that is going to blow anyone away.

  • Even a change in leadership could not save Nebraska from another one-score loss. The Cornhuskers were outscored 10-0 in the fourth quarter, including two killer turnovers in a 13-10 loss.

  • Did Florida practice? They looked poorly coached against Utah. If not for some killer pre-snap penalties, Utah probably still wins, but it could have been an ugly 10-9 type of game. The Florida offense still has work to do, but the defense looked good aside from the opening touchdown.

  • Bad week for Big 12 darkhorses, Baylor (lost 42-31 against Texas State) and Texas Tech (lost 35-33 to Wyoming in double overtime). Here is the eventual game-winning touchdown for Wyoming.

How did he get this pass off?

  • North Carolina’s defense wrecked shop against South Carolina on Saturday Night. The Tar Heels sacked Spencer Rattler NINE TIMES.

  • Louisville mounted a second-half comeback to defeat Georgia Tech in Jeff Brohm’s debut for the Cardinals. Georgia Tech had a monster second quarter (28 points), and didn’t do much else in a 39-34 loss.

  • Iowa scored touchdowns on their first two possessions, signaling a change. The rest of the game was more of the same as the Hawkeyes managed only 24 points against Utah State. Not a great start for Brian Ferentz’s goal of averaging 25 points per game. Utah State was one of the teams Iowa needed to run it up a little to bolster that average. Ferentz has reached 24 of the 325 points he needs to for the year.

  • Boston College lost 27-24 to Northern Illinois in overtime. It might be getting late early for Jeff Hafley.

  • Former Florida quarterback Emory Jones threw for five touchdowns and rushed for two more in his debut for Cincinnati against Eastern Kentucky. Not too shabby.

  • BYU pitched its first shutout in nearly 10 years, with a 14-0 victory over Sam Houston State.

 

Plays Of The Weekend (Good and Bad)

  • Boston College’s absurd 4th and 5 conversion to stay alive against Northern Illinois.

  • A couple of catch of the year candidates for Minnesota against Nebraska, and Texas State against Baylor.


  • Boise State’s punt coverage team just forgetting to do their job.

  • Caleb Williams being ridiculous.

 

College Football Moment Of The Weekend

I enjoy finding absurd, hilarious, and confusing moments from each weekend. The more the merrier. However, the ending to Virginia State at Norfolk State is so perfect, it will stand alone this week as the college football moment of the weekend. Honestly, it may end up taking the moment of the year. It is hard to top this absolute farce.


Let’s break it down. Virginia State holds a 27-24 lead with six seconds left in the game. They are facing 4th and 7 from their own 4-yard line. The usual move in this situation is to run around in the end zone for a bit and step out of bounds after time has expired. Alternatively, run around for a little bit, get out of the pocket, and then throw the ball deep to nobody. A coach might even call for a punt. Pretty much any of these scenarios will result in six seconds coming off the clock and securing the victory. Is that what Virginia State did? NOPE.


Virginia State had the quarterback run a bootleg and in his infinite wisdom, he RAN OUT OF BOUNDS WITH TIME ON THE CLOCK IN THE FIELD OF PLAY.


Even running out of the end zone for a safety with time on the clock would have been better than this.

Norfolk State has the ball with a chip shot field goal to tie. It is unimaginable that Virginia State allowed this to happen. They had the game won and they let them off the hook.


To overtime, we go, right? WRONG. Norfolk State horribly botches the snap. But that’s not all. Virginia State is not content to merely fall on the ball and end the game. Virginia State wants to send a message. They run the blocked kick back roughly 80 yards and score one final touchdown, well after time has expired. 33-24 final score.


Pure art.

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