To start the 2017 campaign, there were early statements, breakouts, and even some stunners. Here are my winners and losers:
- Alabama Crimson Tide: Although quarterback Jalen Hurts only passed for 96 yards and a touchdown, the defense was the story having two interceptions and three sacks as the Tide held off the Florida State Seminoles 24-7. Head coach Nick Saban is now 11-0 against former assistants.
- Michigan Wolverines: The Wolverines rushed for 215 yards and the defense had six sacks as they pulled away from the Florida Gators 33-17. Even though they had to replace virtually every starter from last year’s team, the youth movement is on the rise in Ann Arbor.
- Maryland Terrapins: Quarterback Tyrrell Pigrome threw for two touchdowns and rushed for a touchdown. The defense had five sacks and made big stops late that helped the Terps defeat the Texas Longhorns 51-41, great win for the Terps and coach D.J. Durkin.
- Penn State RB Sequon Barkley: Barkley rushed for 172 yards and two touchdowns as the Nittany Lions dominated the Akron Zips 52-0. You’re going to be hearing his name a lot in the Heisman conversation.
- UAB Blazers: Quarterback A.J. Erdely threw for two touchdowns. The offense rushed for 252 yards and two touchdowns as they pounded the Alabama A&M Bulldogs 38-7 in the Blazers’ first football game in two seasons.
- Liberty Flames: We’re going to give love to a couple of lower division teams, first, quarterback Steven Calvert threw for 447 yards and three touchdowns. He also rushed for a touchdown. Cornerback Chris Turner had a pick six as the Flames, who are in their final season in the FCS, upset the Baylor Bears 48-45. Ironically, head coach Turner Gill (bet a lot of you didn’t know that), had one win against a Big 12 team in his two seasons as head coach at Kansas.
- Howard Bison: Another FCS team getting some love is the Howard Bison, quarterback Caylin Newton (Cam’s younger brother), a true freshman had 330 total offensive yards and three total touchdowns as the Bison stunned the UNLV Rebels 43-40. It’s the biggest upset in college football history, via point spread. The Bison were a 45-point underdog, they also pocketed a cool $600,000 for their athletic department, not bad at all.
- UCLA QB Josh Rosen: Rosen threw for 292 yards and four touchdowns…in the fourth quarter including the go-ahead to wide receiver Jordan Lasley with 43 seconds left as the Bruins overcame a 34-point deficit and defeat the Texas A&M Aggies 45-44. No words for this one.
- Florida State Seminoles: The backfield being held to just 40 rushing yards and turnovers hindered the Noles’ offense in their loss to Alabama. They also have lost quarterback Deondre Francois to a serious knee injury.
- Florida Gators: Despite two pick sixes by their defense, the offense couldn’t hold their end as turnovers and being only 2 for 13 on third downs stalled drives in their loss to Michigan.
- Texas Longhorns: Though the Longhorns scored three non-offensive touchdowns via a pick six, a blocked field goal return for a TD, and a punt return for a TD, there seems to still be some issues at Texas. The defense gave up nearly 500 total yards in their loss to Maryland. Not a good start to the Tom Herman era in Austin.
- Baylor Bears and UNLV Rebels: Both fell victim to determined FCS teams that weren’t just playing these games for their school’s payday. The Bears’ defense gave up 585 total yards in their loss to Liberty, not the start new coach Matt Rhule wanted. As for the Rebels, well, their defense gave up over 300 rushing yards in their loss to Howard. This is the Rebels’ 50th season in football and they’ll be forever in the history books but for all the wrong reasons.
- BYU Cougars: The Cougars had -5 (yes, you read that right) rushing yards and only had six first downs as they couldn’t get their offense going as they were shutout by the LSU Tigers 27-0.
- Texas A&M Aggies: Questionable play-calling and poor time management cost the Aggies as they were unable to hold onto a 34-point deficit, ultimately losing to UCLA. Coach Kevin Sumlin’s seat was already hot to begin with, safe to say, it’s burning now.
Storylines Going Into Week Two:
Louisville visits North Carolina. Northwestern battles Duke. Auburn meets Clemson. Ohio State hosts Oklahoma in a battle of top ten teams. Georgia travels to South Bend to play Notre Dame. Stanford plays USC in an early Pac 12 showdown.