My weekly blog is back for another season. Week one had its best opening matchups ever. We saw standouts, breakouts, comebacks and mayhem. Here are my winners and losers:
- Houston Cougars: Quarterback Greg Ward Jr. threw for two touchdowns. Safety Brandon Williams returned a missed field goal 109 yards for the touchdown as the Cougars shocked the Oklahoma Sooners 33-23. If they can beat the Louisville Cardinals later in the season and win the American Athletic, they will definitely make a case for a spot in the College Football Playoff.
- Alabama Crimson Tide: The Tide overcame a slow start as quarterback Jalen Hurts threw for 118 yards and two touchdowns. He also ran for two touchdowns as the Tide defeated the USC Trojans 52-6. Guess the Tide are going to be just fine.
- Wisconsin Badgers: Running back Corey Clement rushed for one touchdown. Quarterback Bart Houston overcame two interceptions and threw for 208 yards. While the defense caught two interceptions of their own as they stunned the LSU Tigers 16-14 at Lambeau Field. The best win in the Paul Chryst era.
- Georgia Bulldogs: In his first game back from a gruesome leg injury, running back Nick Chubb rushed for 222 yards and two touchdowns helping the Dogs defeat the North Carolina Tar Heels 33-24. A solid first win in the Kirby Smart regime.
- Louisville QB Lamar Jackson: Jackson threw for 286 yards and six touchdowns. He also rushed for 119 yards and two touchdowns in the first half (yes, you read that right) as the Cardinals destroyed the Charlotte 49ers 70-14. Jackson could be a Heisman dark horse.
- Pittsburgh running back James Conner: Conner had a touchdown run and a touchdown catch as the Panthers defeated the Villanova Wildcats 28-7. It was his first game back from not only a MCL injury but also successfully battling non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma. What an inspirational performance, bravo James!!
- Central Florida Knights and Kansas Jayhawks: Two teams that went winless last season got their first wins on Saturday. The Knights shutout FCS’ South Carolina State Bulldogs 38-0, it’s also the first win for new head coach Scott Frost. While the Jayhawks defeated FCS’ Rhode Island Rams 55-6. The Jayhawks’ fans stormed the field, showing how bad it’s been in Lawrence.
- Texas Longhorns: The two quarterback system worked for the Horns as Shane Buechele threw for two touchdowns. While Tyrone Swoopes rushed for three including the game-winner as the Horns defeated the Notre Dame Fighting Irish 50-47 in a double overtime thriller. It’s their first win over the Irish since 1970. It’s not out of the question to say that the Horns could be one of the favorites in the Big 12.
- Oklahoma Sooners: After a quick start, the Sooners just couldn’t get more scoring opportunities. As they were held to just 70 rushing yards. While their defense gave up too many big plays in their loss to Houston. We’ll see how the Sooners respond.
- LSU Tigers: Questionable play-calling and late turnovers cost the Tigers against Wisconsin.
- Pac 12: It was a mixed bag for the conference, though there were wins by Utah, Stanford, Washington, Oregon, Colorado and Arizona State, and California was off. The Oregon State Beavers didn’t slow down the Minnesota Golden Gophers 30-23. Quarterback Josh Rosen’s three interceptions cost the UCLA Bruins in their loss to the Texas A&M Aggies 31-24 in overtime. The Washington State Cougars’ defense gave up over 600 total yards in their loss to FCS’ Eastern Washington Eagles 45-42. While the Arizona Wildcats just couldn’t stop BYU quarterback Taysom Hill and the Cougars, losing to them 18-16 on a last second field goal.
- Mississippi State Bulldogs: The Bulldogs weren’t able to hold onto a 17-0 halftime lead as South Alabama quarterback Dallas Davis led his team down the field for the go-ahead touchdown to wide receiver Gerald Everett with less than a minute left. Also a missed a 28-yard field goal by kicker Westin Graves led to the Bulldogs’ loss to the Sun Belt’s Jaguars 21-20. It’s the Jaguars’ first win against a SEC team.
- Kentucky Wildcats: Their best player Stanley “Boom” Williams was held to just 94 rushing yards and zero touchdowns. While their defense gave up 520 total yards including 262 rushing yards in their loss to Conference USA’s Southern Mississippi Eagles 44-34. If the Cats can’t make it to a bowl game, there could be some changes made.
- Notre Dame Fighting Irish: Despite tying the game, questionable decision-making late cost the Irish in their loss to Texas.
Storylines Going into Week Two
Kentucky will try to bounce back against Florida in an early SEC matchup. TCU hosts Arkansas as old SWC foes collide. State rivals clash Penn State goes to Pittsburgh, BYU meets Utah and California after a week off faces San Diego State.
Texas Tech visits Arizona State in what could be a high-scoring affair. Washington State faces Boise State. North Carolina goes to Illinois. Virginia Tech and Tennessee battle at Bristol Motor Speedway.