5 Things to Note - Week 1
By Martin Magers
Great opening weekend.
College football is back, and it’s back in full force. After a season that featured the second ever college football playoff, a fantastic national championship game, and numerous unthinkable endings to big games (one of which was particularly tragic, reference: U-M vs MSU), it picked up right where it left off. It started Thursday with #9 Tennessee needing a lucky play in overtime to put away a good Appalachian State, kept going Saturday with College GameDay traveling to Lambeau Field to preview a matchup between Wisconsin and #5 LSU, continued Sunday with a matchup between #10 Notre Dame and Texas, and concluded Monday night with #4 Florida State taking on #11 Ole Miss. Altogether, there were four matchups between top 25 teams, and that doesn’t include the LSU-Wisconsin, ND-Texas, and Clemson-Auburn matchups. Most of these games lived up to their billing, and there were several other surprisingly great games as well (i.e., the aforementioned App State vs UT matchup and Texas A&M upsetting UCLA). Best opening weekend ever? Probably not, but it was the most fun opening weekend in a long time, and the new playoff system seems to be encouraging teams to schedule strong opponents early in the season.
Houston is good??
The top five schools going into this weekend were (in order) Alabama, Clemson, Oklahoma, FSU, and LSU, all schools with storied football programs. One school in the top 25 without a storied football program? #15 Houston. The last time we saw Houston they were beating #9 FSU in the New Year ’s Day Peach Bowl to cap off a 13-1 season and a #8 final season ranking. 2015 was certainly a great season for the Cougars, and they may have even forced their way into the playoff if not for a loss at Connecticut. After beating a very good #3 Oklahoma team on Saturday, they appear ready to roll through the rest of their regular season schedule. You may not know much about them, but don’t be surprised to hear them in the conversation for 2016’s playoff.
The SEC is overrated...
Can the narrative that the SEC is markedly better than the other power conferences please be laid to rest with LSU’s national championship hopes? (Yes, it’s theoretically possible LSU still makes the playoff, but it’s unlikely and they did not look good on Saturday). Not only did unranked Wisconsin beat #5 LSU, but #9 Tennessee needed a lucky play in overtime to beat Appalachian State and Mississippi State was shocked by FCS opponent South Alabama. Just face it, Finebaum, the SEC is not as good as you think.
but Alabama looks really really good.
#1 Alabama beat #20 USC by a score of 52 to 6, but even that margin of victory doesn’t do justice to how good Alabama looked. Both of USC’s quarterbacks finished with a QBR less than 10. USC managed 64 yards rushing (2.1 per carry average). On the other hand, Alabama rushed for 242 yards (5.4 per carry average) and passed for 223 yards and 3 touchdowns. USC was probably overrated, but the Crimson Tide nonetheless showed why they were the preseason #1. Time will tell...
Nebraska is classy as hell.
The best story of the weekend can’t be done justice in this short blurb. Just grab a box of tissues and watch.