The first week of college football is always a little weird with games starting on Thursday and the final game of the week not being played until Monday night. But now with all said and done, here are my observations, updated top 10, and a couple of trending teams.
AP Top 5 Cruise: USC won easily over Hawaii 49-10, which comes as no surprise though one player I didn’t mention in my preseason top ten shined on Saturday. Marquise Lee had 10 catches, 197 yards, and a touchdown as well as a 100-yard kickoff return touchdown. The much anticipated clash between Alabama and Michigan was a bit anti-climatic as it was a cakewalk for the Crimson Tide winning 41-14 and scoring the first 31 points of the game. Staying in the SEC, LSU made quick work of North Texas by the same 41-14. Oregon also won big, scoring a lot of points as they always have, 57-34 over Arkansas State. Oklahoma is the number five team in the AP poll and they weren’t nearly as dominant as the rest of the top five but pulled out a 24-7 win against UTEP, led by running back Damien Williams, who needed only nine carries to eclipse the 100-yard mark and found the end zone late in the game.
Ranked Teams Tested: There were many teams that were pushed to the brink of defeat in their opening games. We’ll start with South Carolina. The SEC has a ton of depth so, I was expecting Vanderbilt to give them a game, but ultimately one of my Heisman finalists, Marcus Lattimore, pulled the Gamecocks through in a potential trap game as they survived 17-13 behind Lattimore’s 110 yards and two touchdowns. Another team in my preseason top ten, Michigan State, was challenged by nationally ranked Boise State on Friday, trailing in the fourth quarter as was South Carolina, but a late touchdown by Le’Veon Bell gave the Spartans the win. Wisconsin also got a scare from Northern Iowa but had to hang on for a 26-21 victory after leading 26-7 in the fourth quarter. Fifteenth-ranked Virginia Tech was taken to overtime on home soil in Lane Stadium but also prevailed by a score of 20-17. In the first game of the post-Andrew Luck era Stanford won by that same 20-17 score and one of the lower-end teams in the top 25, Florida, led Bowling Green by a mere 17-14 after three quarters before pulling away for a 27-14 victory.
Other Notable Games: There were lots of competitive college football games in week one. Most notably the first game of the Bill O’Brien era in State College as Penn State fell to Ohio in a back and forth game that ended with the Bobcats ahead where it counts, 24-14. Nationally ranked Clemson dispatched of Auburn 26-19, much to the chagrin of former Auburn quarterback Cam Newton, who was in attendance. There were a some high-scoring offers, as well, as Northwestern edged out Syracuse 42-41, Miami traveled North to Boston College for a 41-32 victory, number-19 Oklahoma State absolutely throttled Savannah State 84-0, and in Dublin, Notre Dame cruised over Navy 50-10.
Updated Top 10
USC: Not much has changed as they won easily this weekend. They travel cross country to play Syracuse next.
Alabama: Impressive win against Michigan, and though the AP poll has them at number one, I still like USC. Next up for Alabama is Western Kentucky.
LSU: Won big but it was North Texas, though I will put them ahead of Oregon. Another Pac 12 team travels cross-country as LSU will host Washington in their next game.
Oregon: Giving up 34 to Arkansas State isn’t good, but they’ll be able to get away with that against their schedule…for now. Fresno State next.
Oklahoma: Tested by UTEP but got the win and I’m beginning to like them more than Wisconsin, which is why they move up to five. Florida A&M awaits in what should be a cupcake.
Georgia: In my view the Bulldogs are an underrated SEC team given they play in the weaker of the two SEC divisions. They move up two spots. Easy win against Buffalo this week but potential trap game coming for Georgia at Missouri.
Florida State: New to the poll and it’s not because they destroyed Murray State, it’s because EJ Manuel is healthy again. Savannah State is next for Florida State and if you read what I said about Savannah State’s game against Oklahoma State in week one — it’s not wise to put the Seminoles on upset alert this weekend.
Wisconsin: They drop three spots, and though Jared Abbrederis, who I highlighted in the preseason top ten, caught what would be the game winning touchdown for the Badgers, to only win by five against Northern Iowa at home is a cause for concern. I’m being nice to Wisconsin keeping them this high (they are 13th in the AP poll) because I like Abbrederis and Montee Ball is one of my Heisman Finalists, but they need to right the ship. They travel to the Pacific Northwest to take on Oregon State this weekend.
West Virginia: They stay at nine after an easy win against in-state rival Marshall. They next play James Madison.
Arkansas: New to the top ten but a team that has the potential to compete with LSU and Alabama this year, I like Arkansas. They next play Louisiana Monroe before a huge game with Alabama.
*Michigan State drops out this week only because I think Arkansas has a little more potential being that Arkansas plays in the SEC. Tyler Wilson leads a high-powered offense which may be able to score enough to beat most teams in the country on a good day. I decided to slide them in this week, but I do like Michigan State a lot, more so than Michigan who disappointed me by not even competing against Alabama.
Clemson: The Tigers had a nice non-conference win against a low-end top 25 team in Auburn albeit at a neutral site in Atlanta at the Georiga Dome, but any time an ACC team beats an SEC team, I’d pay attention to that ACC team. Clemson should give Florida State a good run in the ACC Atlantic and I already said I like North Carolina from the ACC Coastal.
Virginia Tech: I could have gone Stanford here, but the lack of depth in the Pac 12 leads me to think although they did not impress in their opener, they’ll win enough games to stay in the AP Top 25. Challenged by Georgia Tech, I’m not sure if the Hokies can continue to stay atop the ACC. Frank Beamer’s team has been a staple in the BCS the last five years but I like Florida State, Clemson and North Carolina more in the ACC, especially if the rest of the conference can challenge Virginia Tech the way Georgia Tech did.