It’s finally here! After all the Spring games, preseason polls and a Stanford-Rice beatdown we have arrived at the first college football of consequence since Deshaun Watson and Clemson dethroned Alabama. Week 1 is in the books and the reactions abound. Some are right on the money and others way off base, but nearly all of them are forward-looking. The season is a ceaseless march from one week to the next and its easy to get swept along in the race for the playoff and not pause to appreciate each week in and of itself. How much do we remember from last week’s week 1? Maybe Alabama embarrassing USC? Possibly Lamar Jackson bursting on the scene with 8 touchdowns? Houston kick-sixing Oklahoma? Notre Dame and Texas in an OT thriller? Most likely all those moments have faded from memory. Which is fine, that’s the beauty of the sport—too many moments to grab hold of just one. But it’s worth pausing after this first week to note a few things to remember…at least until next week.
UCLA vs. Texas A&M
Through Saturday, the week had yet to produce a truly dramatic finish involving a top team. Sunday delivered. Maybe neither UCL or Texas A&M will be a top team at season’s end, but their primetime matchup lived up to the hype. It seemed like A&M was too talented for the Bruins to overcome even with Josh Rosen–a top draft prospect at the helm. That probably should have been the case, but when A&M’s quarterback Nick Starkel went down, a series of lucky breaks all went the Bruins way and produced a 45-44 victory from a 44-10 deficit. The second largest comeback in the sport’s history and the start of what could be a Heisman season for Rosen. As for A&M, their struggles have come early this season and if Kevin Sumlin can’t right the ship quickly, he may be out. All that is not bad for drama from a week 1 contest.
Alabama vs. Florida State
It was the top-billed game of the week, but it failed to deliver the memorable titanic clash fans hoped for. Both teams were very solid defensively and disciplined on offense, but special teams doomed the Seminoles and when quarterback Deondre Francois went down with a season ending knee-injury, the 24-7 defeat seemed to be the least significant loss of the night. Alabama is set up for another title run and Florida State will need to regroup if they hope to have the season they wanted. This game will be remembered for they hype, but overall it was a disappointing matchup between two teams’ whose greatness is not truly designed to be entertaining.
Michigan vs. Florida
Another matchup of highly rated teams that was a defensive slugfest until Michigan pulled away late to win 33-17. Both teams looked like their offense still needs to improve to remove the concerns from past seasons. Perhaps Florida will recover when players return from injury and suspension. Maybe Michigan can rely on its defense enough to get wins like this. Both teams still have questions to answer, but for the Wolverines this is a win to remember.
USC vs. Western Michigan
Expected to be a walkover for preseason darlings Sam Darnold and the Trojans, this game was close throughout and this trick play made everyone in the Coliseum hold their breath for a while. Maybe this will be seen as a rare hiccup for a playoff team or perhaps its indicative of USC’s struggles to come. We’ll find out quickly with USC facing Stanford and Texas in their next two games.
Maryland vs. Texas
Tom Herman’s Longhorn debut was marred by penalties and special teams miscues that cost the Longhorns a chance at victory. Full credit to the Terps for going into Austin and pulling out a convincing victory, but all eyes will be on Texas to see if this is a sign of things to come. Herman has a shot to pull off a significant win against USC (he’s never lost as a Vegas underdog), but it could be another long season in Hook ‘Em land.
Stephen “Buckshot” Calvert, Liberty QB
47-60, 467 yds, 4 total TD
Maybe Baylor’s defense should have withstood an FCS test, but dismissing Calvert as solely the product of a bad defense is a major disservice. The guy played out of his mind and earned his school a huge victory.
Holton Hill, Texas CB
8 tackles, 1 int, 2 TDs
Texas embarrassed itself, but Hill did everything he could to get the Longhorns a victory. A pick-6 and a returned blocked FG would have felt a lot better in a win, but they’re still pretty sweet.
Calvin Newton, Howard QB
140 passing yds, 190 rushing yds, 3 total TDs
He probably can’t ever fully get out of big brother Cam’s shadow, but for one night, Calvin Newton was the star of the show. He led Howard to the largest (+45) upset in college football history. Cam who?
Josh Rosen, UCLA QB
35-59, 491 yds, 4 TDs (all in 4th quarter)
You lead a 34-point comeback and throw four 4th quarter touchdowns, you’re going to be remembered for a while. Rosen finally has a moment to match his hype and now will have a season to chase the Heisman and whatever else may come
UAB, Football Team
Win 38-7 over South Alabama
The win is great, but what really matters is that they played. Football is back for a program that thought they’d lost it for a while. Go blazers!
5 Turning points:
Nick Starkel (Texas A&M QB injury)
UCLA was quick to credit luck for their comeback win. Seeing as how a touchdown went right through a defensive back’s hands, luck definitely played a part. But, the QB injury was the start of the shift. Starkel wasn’t great, but he was competent and he likely could’ve kept the Aggies in front.
Paris Campbell 74yds for Ohio State
Down by 1 point in the 3rd quarter to Indiana, Ohio State finally found its groove and ran away for a 49-21 win. It started with Campell’s run. The big play seemed to wake the Buckeyes up and the Hoosiers never recovered.
South Florida consecutive INTS
Let’s hark all the way back to week 0 for this one. Charlie Strong’s Bulls were struggling in the first quarter vs. San Jose State until interceptions on consecutive Spartan possessions put them in position to turn a 16-0 deficit into a 42-22 win.
Louisville’s Pick 6
Louisville never really put Purdue away as the Boilermakers had chances until their final snap, but Purdue was up 2 with the ball when Stacy Thomas ran a pick back 61 yards to give the Cardinals the 4th quarter lead. Lamar Jackson had to close the deal, but Thomas’ pick changed the game.
Wisconsin’s first play of the second half
Wisconsin was down 10 to Utah State in the first quarter and tied 10-10 at the half. The first play of the second half was a 41 yard run for their tailback Jonathan Taylor. That run set the tone for a dominant half where Wisconsin blitzed the Aggies to the tune of a 59-10 final score.
They had the left side locked down though…
Shots fired (at Kevin Sumlin’s playcalling)
The 38th promo was a bit much…
The inspirational moment of the weekend