5 Things We Learned from Week 1 in College Football
Week 1 of the highly anticipated college football season has come and gone. Here are 5 things we learned from the opening weekend.
1) The Loser of Michigan State @ Oregon may be out of the running for the National Championship- I can’t remember the last time a game played in week 2 had such impact on the national championship. This is a must win game for both teams. The PAC-12 and the SEC are the two toughest conferences in the country. I can’t see a team from either conference going undefeated. I think that a 1-loss team from the PAC-12 and a 1-loss team from the SEC will make the college football final 4. Oregon can’t afford to lose an out of conference game. If they do they can say goodbye to their National Championship dreams. The Worst thing that happened to Michigan State in the off-season was Ohio State quarterback Braxton Miller getting a season ending injury. The Big 10 is not deep at all. Michigan State could go undefeated in their conference but still might not make the final 4 because of strength of schedule. If MSU can upset the Ducks they will be in great position to compete for a National Championship. I think this game will be close but Oregon’s Quarterback Marcus Mariota will be the difference. He is the best player in college football. He will find away to dominate the second half and lead the Ducks to a victory.
2) The SEC is wide open- Over their passed few games Alabama has continued to struggle against teams that control tempo and run a “hurry- up” style of offense. Texas A&M, Auburn, Oklahoma and even West Virginia have had success against Nick Saban’s defense. I don’t know if Blake Sims is the answer at quarterback for the Crimson Tide but LSU and Georgia have question marks at quarterback as well. One thing is certain; Georgia will go as far as Running Back Todd Gurley will take them. In the first game of the year against a tough Clemson defense, Gurley finished with 198 yards on 15 carries with three rushing touchdowns on Saturday. He also added a 100-yard kickoff return for a touchdown.
Auburn looked good against Arkansas winning 45-21. Texas A&M blew out South Carolina at South Carolina 52-28. Kenny Hill threw for 511 yards. It is obvious that the Aggies don’t miss Johnny Manziel. I picked Ole Miss to win the SEC but if Bo Wallace doesn’t start acting like a senior they won’t go far. Wallace threw 3 interceptions in the opening game. He can’t continue to make these kinds of mistakes. If Wallace can play to his potential they can get to the SEC championship game.
3) UCLA Struggled against Virginia – UCLA junior Brett Hundley is one of the best quarterbacks in the country. I have him as one of my Heisman finalists. UCLA’s offense struggled against Virginia despite a 28-20 victory. UCLA’s defense scored three touchdowns in that game. The final stat line for Hundley reads 20 for 33, 242 yards and zero touchdowns or interceptions. He also ran the ball 15 times for 39 yards, including a 6 -yard touchdown run.
The problem with UCLA is simple; they have no game breakers with elite speed on offense. When I watch teams like Oregon, Baylor and Auburn you can see the speed on offense. They have world-class speed at numerous positions, UCLA doesn’t. The Defense will keep the Bruins in every game but their inability to have a game breaker on offense will keep them out of a national championship, even with Hundley.
4) If you don’t think Baylor is an elite program you haven’t watched college football over the past two years- Baylor opened up their new stadium with a dominant win over SMU 45-0. Bryce Petty is one of the best quarterbacks in the country. Petty is 6’3 230lbs and runs that offense to perfection. As a first year starter last year he had 32 touchdowns, 3 interceptions and threw for 4200 yards. The Bears home field advantage may be as good as any college environment in the country. Art Briles has proven he can recruit with any coach in the Big 12 and his offense is unstoppable at times. Baylor is a powerhouse on the rise.
5) College football is everywhere – The popularity of college football has exploded across the United States. I have a basic cable package at my house and I get Fox Sports 1, ESPN 1,2,3 and U. I get the SEC network, and dozens of other sports channels. I can watch almost any college football game on any given Saturday. CBS, ABC, FOX and NBC all show college games. Campuses have become reminicent of World Cup soccer games on game day. Fans throughly enjoy the games before, during and after. I think the 4-team playoff system is a step in the right direction. But we will see over the next few years that college football will add more teams. I think you will eventually see a 16-team playoff system.
This is Monte Perez for INSIDE SPORTS
Straight Talk about the world of sports
For more sports articles follow me on twitter: Montetjwitter11