Week one of the college football season did not disappoint. We saw breakout performances, upsets, and remarkable comebacks. I’ll break down my reactions to a wild week one with my CFB top 25 rankings below.
1. Georgia: (10-3 win vs Clemson)
I had Georgia winning the SEC & being the 1st seed in the college football playoff (1. Georgia 2. Oklahoma 3. Notre Dame 4. Clemson) and they didn’t disappoint with a stifling defensive performance against my 4th-ranked Clemson Tigers.
Georgia only allowed TWO YARDS rushing all game and had seven total sacks. JT Daniels went scoreless in this one which could end up being problematic down the road, but when you have a defense as good as theirs, there is not much to worry about. I think with some better luck with health, this Georgia offense will be much improved as the year goes on.
2. Alabama: (44-13 win vs Miami)
Alabama lost the Heisman Trophy Winner, another first-round WR, a first-round QB and RB, a first-round CB, 3 offensive linemen, and the top assistant coach in college football.
Due to those reasons, I listed above, I thought that Miami with a talented, veteran quarterback in D’Eriq King could lead Miami to a win against Bryce Young in his first career start. But boy was I wrong.
Bryce Young broke Alabama’s record for passing touchdowns (4) in his starting debut. We knew about John Metchie III (6-71-1), but keep an eye on Ohio State transfer Jameson Williams, as he had four receptions for 126 yards and a score in this one.
3. Oklahoma: (40-35 win vs Tulane)
Update: LSU lost as well. Oklahoma came into the locker room at halftime with a 37-14 halftime lead against a Green Wave team with a lot of fight in them. Oklahoma only scored THREE second-half points to TULANE and barely hung on to win 40-35. Not a great showing for a team with national championship hopes.
Oklahoma gets jumped by Georgia & Alabama in my rankings, but in a world where the AP’s 2nd, 3rd, 4th, 7th, and 10th ranked schools struggled, I still believe OU still has PLENTY of talent to be national championship contenders.
4. Ohio State: (45-31 win vs Minnesota)
CJ Stroud and Ohio State struggled early and if Mohamed Ibrahim, a top-five running back in college football, didn’t go down for Minnesota with what appeared to be an Achilles injury (Minnesota down by seven at the time) things might have been different than the 45-31 final score.
Unfortunately, Ibrahim’s injury did force him out of the game, and CJ Stroud settled down and let his playmakers run wild instead of trying to force things by himself.
Chris Olave had four catches for 117 yards and two scores, Garrett Wilson had five receptions for 80 yards and a score and elite running back recruit Treveyon Henderson also took a catch 70 yards to the house.
Minnesota won’t be the best team Ohio State plays this year so they will have to make adjustments and improve if they want to make the college football playoff.
5. Clemson (3-10 loss vs Georgia)
Clemson didn’t play badly against my highest-ranked team, but their offensive line has some MAJOR issues.
Gaining only two rushing yards and giving up seven sacks is not the recipe for success. With how the ACC played in week one, one has to wonder if they will have the chance to make the college football playoff… even if they win out.
6. USC: (30-7 win vs San Jose State)
USC was my 7th-ranked team before week one thanks to all of the talent they had. The AP poll ranked them 15th.
Even with the vote of confidence from myself and the AP poll, a lot of people were vocal on the Twittersphere about how USC was going to lose to San Jose State. After all, they finished last season ranked 24th.
The Trojans responded by allowing only a single touchdown, winning 30-7. Kedon Slovis had 256 passing yards and two scores thanks to wideout Drake London’s 12 receptions and 137 receiving yards. In my way too early 2022 NFL mock draft, I pegged London as the biggest sleeper in college football and a dark horse to be the first wideout selected in next year’s draft.
7. Iowa State: (16-10 win vs Northern Iowa)
Iowa State came into week one as my 6th ranked team but gets leap-frogged by USC a spot thanks to their uninspiring performance against Northern Iowa.
The Cyclones are going to need more than under 200 passing yards from Brock Purdy & 3 yards a carry from Breece Hall to keep a top 10 ranking.
8. Notre Dame: (41-38 win vs Florida State)
With the legend of Bobby Bowden being celebrated & the return of Mckenzie Milton, there seemed to be all of the magic in the air for Florida State to pull off an upset late against Notre Dame at home. However, the luck of the Irish lived to fight another day, winning by a field goal in overtime.
The win was due in large part to Notre Dame’s best playmakers. Wisconsin transfer Jack Coan threw for 366 yards and four touchdowns, one of which went to electric Runningback Kyren Williams, as although he only gained 42 yards on 18 attempts on the ground, he was able to chip in six receptions for 83 yards and a score.
The difference-maker in this one, however, was a top-five player in college football, Kyle Hamilton. The athletic safety had two interceptions in this one.
9. Cincinnati: (49-14 win vs Miami OH)
Desmond Ridder may have been the only top NFL Quarterback prospect that played up to lofty expectations this week as he had 326 total yards and five touchdowns in the 49-14 rout of Miami (OH).
Former Alabama commit Jerome Ford had 121 yards & a score in this one as well, as he looks to build off of his eight touchdown campaign from a year ago.
10. Texas A&M: (41-10 win vs Kent State)
Texas A&M was coming into week one riding an eight-game win streak. They came out against Kent State sluggish but got a spark from Leon O’Neal thanks to his 85-yard house call pick-six.
A&M has plenty of talent, but I’ve questioned their upside thanks to their quarterback play & Haynes King didn’t exactly prove me wrong with a three-interception performance. A&M fans better hope Isaiah Spiller (137 total yards) & Devon Achane (124 yards & two TD’s) can carry this offense and put King in good situations going forward.
11. Oregon: (31-24 win vs Fresno State)
Is it possible to lose a game and win a game at the same time? Boston College transfer Anthony Brown’s late scrambling touchdown gave the Ducks a 31-24 win against a good Fresno State team. However, Duck fans have to feel deflated at the sight of top NFL prospect Kayvon Thibodeaux in a walking boot after getting rolled up. He was as advertised yesterday, with a strip-sack before his injury. The Ducks will need him healthy to keep their playoff hopes alive.
12. Texas: (38-18 win vs Louisiana)
I felt that Louisiana was going to be a tough first game for the Longhorns. The Rajun’ Cajuns had a mere three-point loss to Coastal Carolina last year.
Texas cruised to victory thanks to Bijan Robinson, who had 103 yards and a touchdown on the ground & 73 and a score through the air as well. Robinson might be the best player in college football this year.
If newly named starting quarterback Hudson Card (224 yards 2 TD’s 0 INT’s) can stay mistake-free, the Longhorns will be a tough out this year.
Iowa: (34-6 win vs Indiana)
I had Indiana as a school that could upset Ohio State this season, considering they came close last season. Additionally, they were returning quarterback Michael Penix Jr, while Ohio State was breaking in a new signal-caller.
Iowa showed me that was a bad idea on Saturday, thrashing Indiana 34-6 and forcing Penix Jr. to throw three interceptions, including two pick-sixes from cornerback Riley Moss.
Be on the lookout for the Hawkeyes to upset 7th seed Iowa State when they play next week.
14. UCLA: (38-27 win vs LSU)
Going into the season I predicted that UCLA would win the PAC-12 South and finish as a top-ten team with key wins against LSU, Arizona State & USC. They completed the first of the trifecta beating the Tigers, giving LSU their second straight season-opening loss.
Their 38-27 win was due in large part to Michigan transfer Zach Charbonnet, as he had 117 yards on 11 carries and a touchdown. His name belongs in Heisman talks with his 106 yard, 3 score performance against Hawaii the week prior.
15. Penn State: (16-10 win vs Wisconsin)
After the season Penn State had last year, I didn’t think they deserved a nod in my preseason top 25. Thanks to a win against a good Wisconsin team in week one, they have earned an appearance.
They have a stout defense that picked off Badger Quarterback Graham Mertz twice, but their offense left much to be desired in week one. However, Nittany Lions fans can go to sleep at night knowing they have NFL hopeful Jahan Dotson on their team. The speedster, who had 884 yards and eight scores last year, started his 2021 season with five receptions for 102 yards and a touchdown in this one.
16. Florida: (35-14 win vs FAU)
There was a lot of chatter about FAU potentially upsetting Florida, but they handled FAU handily. Emory Jones potentially lost his starting spot, however, as freshman QB Anthony Richardson looks electric at the position thanks to his dual-threat ability. He had 160 yards rushing along with a score on the ground.
17. Liberty: (48-7 win vs Campbell)
In what was a warmup game for the Liberty Flames, potential top-five NFL draft pick Malik Willis had 217 yards and a touchdown via the air, along with 55 yards and a score on the ground as well.
18. Arizona State: (41-14 win vs Southern Utah)
This game was another warmup game for a potential NFL Quarterback, as Jayden Daniels threw only two incompletions and had 172 yards of total offense. It may seem like much, but that was all he was asked to do. The Sun Devils rushed 40 times for 222 yards.
Daniels only threw two interceptions in 2019 and barely got to play in 2020 due to COVID, but he’s one of the most exciting dual-threat playmakers in college football.
19. Costal Carolina: (52-14 win vs The Citadel)
Another potential first-round quarterback with a cupcake week one opponent, Grayson McCall threw for 262 yards and a touchdown, completing 16 of 19 pass attempts.
He completed 68.8 percent of his throws last year for 2,488 yards, 26 scores, and just three interceptions.
20. TCU: (46-3 win vs Duquesne)
With the transfer of Darwin Barlow, I expected former five-star RB Zach Evans to have a much more expanded role. However, he only had five carries for 27 yards and a score. Part of this was due to missing the first two offensive possessions for breaking team rules.
He was listed first on TCU’s depth chart, so one would hope head coach Gary Patterson didn’t want him out there for a game that was decided early. Keep an eye on Evans this year.
21. Utah: (40-17 win vs Weber State)
I ranked Utah in my pre-season top 25 in large part due to the arrival of former Baylor Bears quarterback, Charlie Brewer. He had 233 yards, two scores, and an interception.
The Utes got great production out of the backfield led by Sophomore Tavion Thomas, who had 107 yards and two scores on 12 carries. Freshman Mica Bernard combined for 76 yards, proving to be a valuable weapon via the ground and air.
22. Ole Miss: (43-24 win vs Louisville)
Without head coach Lane Kiffin due to COVID protocols, the Rebels impressed Monday night.
This team looks completely different on the defensive side of the ball, as they allowed zero first-half points. If they can keep that up with good play from Heisman hopeful Matt Corral (381 passing yards and a touchdown, along with 55 yards and a score on the ground), this team could be tough to beat and could upend some SEC opponents.
23. Virginia Tech: (17-10 win vs North Carolina)
Playing behind of the best home-field crowds in college football, Virginia Tech had six total sacks and intercepted Heisman hopeful Sam Howell three times.
The offense didn’t look great. Nonetheless, If Braxton Burmeister can take care of the football, the Hokies will be a tough out in ACC play.
24. Miami: (13-44 loss vs Alabama)
Miami didn’t look good at all, but I’m leaving my pre-season 14th-ranked team in my top 25 based on the fact that they did play Alabama.
D’Eriq King didn’t look 100% coming off of the ACL injury he sustained last season and if he’s not healthy or what he used to be… Miami won’t be in my top 25 much longer.
25. Auburn: (60-10 win vs Akron)
One of my bold predictions before the season started was that Alabama would lose two games this year to Miami and… Auburn. The first half of that prediction blew up in my face, and I’m prepared to be let down again.
With Joe Burrow in 2020 and Zach Wilson last season, there always seems to be one QB prospect come out of nowhere. Jordan Palmer, who’s worked with Patrick Mahomes, Deshaun Watson, and Joe Burrow, has given his vote of confidence to former five-star, dual-threat quarterback Bo Nix.
The beginning of his college career hasn’t worked out to this point, but he looked impressive in week one, throwing just two incomplete passes for 275 yards and three touchdowns. He also chipped in 32 yards on the ground.
Speaking of the ground, “Tank” Bigsby had 119 yards and two scores on the ground, averaging 9.2 yards per tote. With Nix finally coming into his own and Bigsby being one of the best pure RB’s in the nation, I believe in the Auburn Tigers this year.