College Football Playoff: Week 1 Review

Story posted September 7, 2016 in Sports, CommRadio by Brad Hayes

If you are a fan of college football, the last three days made waiting an entire eight-month offseason worth it. ESPN’s self-proclaimed “best opening weekend ever” surely did not disappoint. Whether you tuned in to witness Alabama dismantle USC, Houston and Wisconsin make massive early season statements, or the drama that was Texas’ double-overtime victory against Notre Dame, you were left wanting week two.

 Playoff Favorites

(* Game played at neutral location)

Alabama Crimson Tide

Preseason:  #1

Record:  1-0

Week One Result:  WIN, 52-6 vs. #20 USC*

Week Two:  Saturday vs. Western Kentucky

If a 46-point drumming of USC did not remind you who still sits atop college football, then Nick Saban’s postgame displeasure with his team’s performance sure did. Any other coach would be ecstatic after that kind of win. Nevertheless, the Tide looked every bit as dominant behind freshman quarterback, Jalen Hurts, wide receiver ArDarius Stewart, and a swarming defensive unit that held USC to a scarce 194 total yards. There is no question that the Tide remain in the top spot for week two.

(2) Clemson Tigers                                                             

Preseason:  #2

Record:  1-0

Week One Result:  WIN, 19-13 at Auburn

Week Two:  Saturday vs. Troy

For a couple of seconds, as the ball was fluttering toward the end zone with triple zeros on the clock, Auburn fans anticipated another magical finish at Jordan-Hare Stadium. It was not to be, as the Hail Mary attempt was batted down to ensure Dabo Swinney’s Tigers escaped an early season scare with a victory. Quarterback Deshaun Watson did not play up to his Heisman-esque standards, but still managed to connect with wide receiver Mike Williams for 174 yards while running back Wayne Gallman added another 123 yards and a score. An unconvincing but hard fought win did not do much to impress, but still keeps the Tigers locked into the number two spot.

(3) Florida State Seminoles                                               

Preseason:  #4

Record:  1-0

Week One Result:  WIN, 45-34 vs. #11 Ole Miss*

Week Two:  Saturday vs. Charleston Southern

What a way to cap off the opening weekend of the college football season! On Labor Day evening, in front of his hometown of Orlando, Seminole freshman quarterback Deondre Francois put together a memorable 419-yard performance. Trailing No. 11 Ole Miss 28-6, with just under four minutes remaining in the second quarter, Francois stood in the pocket and hit Travis Rudolph with a strike that would jumpstart the largest comeback in school history. Dalvin Cook’s 192 all-purpose yards, coupled with a defense that rebounded greatly in the second half, have ‘Noles fans again saying “fear the spear.”

(4) Ohio State Buckeyes                                                   

Preseason:  #6

Record:  1-0

Week One Result:  WIN, 77-10 vs. Bowling Green

Week Two:  Saturday vs. Tulsa

In front of a crowd of 107,193, the Buckeyes showed why they are still an extremely dangerous team, en route to racking up a school-record 776 yards, in a punishing win against Bowling Green. With many new toys on offense, quarterback J.T. Barrett looked at ease, accounting for seven total scores, while the Buckeyes tacked on 359 additional yards on the ground. If Urban Meyer started the day concerned about his many inexperienced players, he ended it satisfied. OSU’s first test comes in two weeks when they travel to Norman to take on Oklahoma.

On the Outside Looking In

(5) Michigan Wolverines

Preseason:  #7

Record:  1-0

Week One Result:  WIN, 63-3 vs. Hawaii

Week Two:  Saturday vs. UCF

Jim Harbaugh’s new signal caller, Wilton Speight, had fans worried early as he threw an interception on the Wolverine’s very first offensive snap. Any questions were quickly put to ease, as Speight proceeded to toss three straight touchdown passes to put his team ahead 35-0 at the halfway point. Making quick work of Hawaii, the maize-and-blue look like a playoff contender.

(6) Stanford Cardinal

Preseason:  #8

Record:  1-0

Week One Result:  WIN, 26-13 vs. Kansas St.

Week Two:  BYE

All-around star Christian McCaffrey again showed up when his team needed him the most.  In the midst of a sputtering second half offensive drought, McCaffrey scored on a 41-yard run that propelled the No. 8 Cardinal over a pesky Wildcat team 26-13. David Shaw’s team has some questions, but also many answers with a Heisman-worthy player on the roster. For now, Stanford sits at the six position.

(7) Houston Cougars

Preseason:  #15

Record:  1-0

Week One Result:  WIN, 33-23 vs. #3 Oklahoma*

Week Two:  Saturday vs. Lamar

In what might be one of the biggest wins in Houston football history, the Tom Herman led Cougars validated last year’s Peach Bowl win with an upset of No. 3 Oklahoma on Saturday. Quarterback Greg Ward Jr. threw for 321 yards and two TDs, but the play of the game was a 100-yard “kick-six” return of a missed field goal by Brandon Wilson that sparked the Cougars to 20 unanswered points. This team is for real and very much a College Football Playoff contender.

(8) Georgia Bulldogs

Preseason:  #18

Record:  1-0

Week One Result:  WIN, 33-24 vs. #22 North Carolina*

Week Two:  Saturday vs. Nicholls St.

Georgia enjoyed its first win under new head coach Kirby Smart, and welcomed back star running back Nick Chubb in a quality season-opening victory over No. 22 North Carolina.  Chubb, who returned from suffering a significant knee injury last October, rushed for 222 yards and two scores, while the Bulldogs seemingly found a quarterback in freshman Jacob Eason, who led four scoring drives. The Dawgs benefit from teams ahead of them falling and are for the moment in playoff discussion.

 

Brad Hayes is a junior at Penn State University majoring in broadcast journalism.  To contact him, email bradhayes10@outlook.com.bradhayes10@outlook.com.