The main course of college football's week one finally arrived after a long, lousy off-season that saw one of the most historic programs become shaken down to its foundation and one of the most prolific, exciting, and flamboyant players on one of the most prominent teams in the country was booted off the team. If you are like I am, college football just couldn't get here soon enough.
Week one's slate of games were, for the most part, warm-ups, or scrimmages that mean something, for most of the major conference programs. Beat-em-down, cupcake, rent-a-win, whatever you want to call them, that's basically what it was for week one. But, hey, at least college football is finally here.
Despite the lack of quality opponents that most teams faced, there are some impressions that can be taken from week one. Some teams surpassed expectations, others met them, and still others disappointed in their 2012-2013 debuts.
Week 1 Winners:
Alabama – The Tide rolled over the Big Ten's alleged “best” team in JerryWorld. Nick Saban had his team ready to play (like he almost always does) and they looked like the defending national champions they are in their complete dismantling of Michigan.
USC – Hawaii isn't the program it used to be under June Jones but the Trojans were very impressive in their much anticipated debut. Matt Barkley was sharp, the offense was exciting to watch, and their thin defense didn't suffer any injuries.
West Virginia – This just in... Geno Smith is damn good. Like, best QB in the Big 12 good. Smith completed 32/36 passes for 323 yards and 4 touchdowns en route to leading the Mountaineer offense to Madden-like numbers in their rout of Marshall. It's still early but Dana Holgorsen's team looks like they could be the cream of the crop in the Big 12 this year.
Oregon – As would be expected, the Duks lit up Arkansas State. Their offense looked even more impressive than it did in 2010, the year they went to the BCS Championship Game. If Marcus Mariota can play as cool and collected as he did against the Red Wolves then Oregon should be in fine shape during Pac-12 play.
Nebraska – Looks like working with a quarterback guru paid off for Taylor Martinez, who threw for over 350 yards and 5 touchdowns against Southern Miss. Martinez looked like a completely different QB under center for Bo Pelini's club. The defense looked strong, the offensive line looked stronger, but the major concern would be Rex Burkhead, who left the game with a sprained ligament in his left knee.
Week 1 Losers:
Penn State – Everyone knew that Bill O'Brien was in for a tough task but getting beat by Ohio, not State, just Ohio – the MAC team, puts things in perspective as to how tough of a task it's going to be.
Pitt- Apparently Pitt felt sorry for their Keystone State brothers and decided that anything Penn State can do, they can do better and lost to a FCS team. Youngstown State not only came to Pitt's home field but beat them by two touchdowns. Everyone in the Big East's front offices probably giggled to themselves while it was happening.
Michigan – In what was a barometer game for the Big Ten as a whole, the Wolverine's decimation at the hands of Alabama puts things into clear perspective – the Big Ten has a lot of work to do to match the SEC's best team.
The Big Ten – Michigan wasn't up for the challenge against Alabama, Wisconsin barely squeaked by Northern Iowa, Iowa just barely got by defending MAC champion Northern Illinois, Penn State lost to a MAC team, and Michigan State looks like their going to have problems at quarterback. It was a rough start for the Big Ten who will should look to Nebraska and Ohio State to be the banner wavers this year.
Conference USA – The conference went 2-10 during week one. That's pitiful. Memphis lost to UT-Martin, UAB lost to Troy, etc. The two teams that won were ECU and UCF, who isn't bowl eligible this season. Houston's piss poor performance against FBS newcomer Texas State, a 30-13 loss, prompted their offensive coordinator to resign. Yeah, it's probably safe to say that the special teams coach, Tony Levine, shouldn't have been hired to replace Kevin Sumlin.
LSU's pass protection needs some work. North Texas was able to get too much pressure on Zach Mettenberger and if the Mean Green are able to do that then Alabama will have a field day. Speaking of Mettenberger but the highly-touted junior college transfer looked a bit shell-shocked. Maybe it was because of his first start at night in Death Valley but he seemed uneasy against the pass rush and a bit hesitant in making some of his reads. Hopefully it was just first game jitters.
The secondary showed their inexperience against North Texas. That's emphasized by the Mean Green throwing for two touchdown passes and scoring more points Saturday in Tiger Stadium than they had in their previous four games combined. It's good that LSU's young secondary got some in-game experience as their going to need all the seasoning they can against the likes of Arkansas and Alabama.
Spencer Who? It's amazing how deep LSU is at running back. Kenny Hilliard and Alfred Blue were shake and baked their way to 264 rushing yards combined which is just astounding. LSU's battering ram offense looks primed and ready to go for the rest of the season.
Auburn and Florida look like they will have rough seasons. Both have erratic at best quarterbacks and few playmakers on offense. Their defenses should help them keep in games early but they're going to need help. My way-too-early prediction is that at the end of their respective seasons both Gene Chizik and Will Muschamp will be on the hot seat.
Who knew that former quarterback Steve Spurrier taught his quarterbacks to slide head first? That would explain Stephen Garcia. It would also explain starting quarterback Connor Shaw's injury against Vanderbilt. Shaw was a trooper playing hurt but any more of that and the Gamecocks hopes for playing in Atlanta might be plucked.
Ole Miss won a football game, you guys. Let's give them a slow clap.