2016 Week One CFB Bullets

Submitted by Alex Cook on September 7th, 2016 at 10:00 AM

Alabama-Jalen-Hurts-jpg

[Tom Pennington – WAPT News]

In the end, the first weekend of college football was much like it always is – despite being branded as the [GOAT emoji] opening stanza of the season by ESPN. Teams shook off the rust-induced brain-farts; coaches rotated quarterbacks without rhyme or reason, both established (Brian Kelly) and not (Kirby Smart); Alabama destroyed some poor saps; there were a number of nail-biters, blowouts, near-upsets, and, as Michigan fans can attest, some perfunctory cupcake gorging. It was an ordinary week one, but after several months without football, it was a very welcome sight.

SEC

Some people will try to tell you that the SEC looked poor in Week One. However, as we all know, a conference is defined entirely by the performance of its best team; based on ALABAMA pummeling USC, the conference looks tremendous. The only scoring in the first quarter was a Trojan field goal, but the Tide eventually got in gear and won 52-6. They looked every bit the top-ranked team they are, and the biggest question entering the season (quarterback) might have been solved by precocious freshman Jalen Hurts. The defense overwhelmed USC as easily as if they’d been a mid-November FCS cupcake. We don’t know how good USC will be and they were dealing with injuries on the offensive line (which is pretty much the worst-case scenario vs. Bama) but the Tide definitely looked the part of a national title frontrunner. By extension, the SEC looked great.
 
[after the JUMP, other conferences]

SEC*

*Non-Alabama edition

One of the best matchups of the weekend was Wisconsin – LSU: the Tigers, entering the season with a good amount of hype, were perplexingly impotent on offense en route to a 16-14 upset loss in Green Bay. Superstar RB Leonard Fournette was kept mostly in check by a solid Badger front seven, but the real story on that end was quarterback Brandon Harris, who was pretty terrible, throwing for 5.3 yards per on attempts when there was no pressure, per PFF. LSU has had one of the worst passing attacks in the nation in recent years and it looks like more of the same, despite the ubiquitous presence of top talent at receiver. With a pick-six to the defense’s credit, the Tigers only put up seven points on offense, and wound up being caught up in one of those hideous Les Miles rock fights that end with field goal luck making an inordinate impact on the outcome. With Wisconsin kicker Rafael Gaglianone going 3-3 and hitting a long one late, LSU lost a game in which its defense was largely dominant. They look much closer to a 7-5 / 8-4 team than an SEC West contender.
In the same 3:30 window, TEXAS A&M managed to hold on at home and notch a nice win over UCLA. The Aggies lost a 24-9 lead in the fourth, but wound up winning in overtime after a Bruin receiver dropped a would-be touchdown before the decisive fourth down play. John Chavis has made his mark as A&M’s defensive coordinator – the Aggies forced three picks from highly-regarded UCLA QB Josh Rosen with a ton of pressure, mainly from ends Myles Garrett and Daeshon Hall. Strangely, Kevin Sumlin’s offense didn’t look great with Oklahoma transfer Trevor Knight running the show, but there’s definitely talent at the skill positions. If the Aggies continue to play at a high level defensively, there could be a bounce-back season in College Station. AUBURN, a program in similar circumstances, came close to upsetting highly-ranked Clemson behind a fantastic defensive performance, but offensive guru Gus Malzahn couldn’t get enough offense to pull it off. All in all, the Tigers (Auburn, not Clemson) acquitted themselves well.
More on this game in the ACC section, but last night’s contest between Florida State and OLE MISS was a deeply weird game – the Rebels ran out to a 28-6 lead in the second quarter and looked nearly dominant on both sides of the ball; by the time the game was over, FSU had hit six field goals, totally flipped the script on both sides of the ball in the 3rd quarter, and eventually won 45-34. Ole Miss’ inability to run the ball put pressure on Chad Kelly that the swashbuckling QB wasn’t able to handle well, but still, the Rebels scored 34 points – it was a defensive collapse against a redshirt freshman quarterback (Deondre Francois) that lost them the game. Florida State wasn’t really able to handle the Ole Miss pass rush either, which makes Francois’s 478 yards of total offense all the more impressive.

chubbunc

[Alex Kormann – The Daily Tar Heel]

A slightly less high-profile game was North Carolina – GEORGIA; a healthy dose of Nick Chubb against what was a hideously inept UNC run defense in 2015 was the difference in a 33-24 win. Kirby Smart alternated between uninspiring vet Greyson Lambert and hotshot freshman Jacob Eason at quarterback, and Eason looked like he’d be a better bet moving forward – still, giving the ball to Chubb (who had 32 carries, 222 yards, and two touchdowns, including a 55-yard scamper to seal the win) a lot is a strong strategy. As with all Week One matchups, a game can only tell us something about the two teams involved, so we don’t know how good UNC is, but Georgia should make some noise in the SEC East hunt. That the Dawgs scored 19 unanswered points to win against a ranked opponent is definitely an encouraging sign.
There were some near-upsets: TENNESSEE needed to rally late to force overtime against Appalachian State (where they won, 20-13) and ARKANSAS beat Louisiana Tech by a single point after scoring a late touchdown. The Vols are the consensus pick to win the SEC East, but their Mike DeBord-led offense seems to misuse its stockpile of talent with poor playcalling and indifferent-at-best quarterback play. Tennessee’s defense was dominant enough to stifle Appalachian State after going into the half down 13-3, but the Vols’ offense seems destined to doom them sooner or later. Arkansas typically looks bad in September under Bielema, but at least they won; that’s more than MISSISSIPPI STATE can say after they lost a 17-point halftime lead and CLANGA’d a would-be game-winning field goal in the dying seconds of the game… against 28-point underdog South Alabama.
The rest of the SEC East was mostly meh: SOUTH CAROLINA emerged victorious after a late field goal against VANDERBILT (winner of Week One’s annual “Game Most Likely to Resemble Eight-Year Olds Fighting with Foam Pool Noodles” award); KENTUCKY allowed 34 unanswered points at home against Southern Miss after leading 35-10, which is a really bad result for embattled coach Mark Stoops. MISSOURI picked up from where they left off, losing a game with a goofy score (26-11) to West Virginia; FLORIDA won comfortably against Massachusetts after a sleepy start.
Since Alabama was so good, we don’t need to think about how the rest of the SEC went 5-6 against out-of-conference foes, featuring some shaky wins and bad losses. It’s worth noting that Bama’s three toughest opponents – LSU, Ole Miss, Tennessee – all kind of tripped over themselves to varying degrees (LSU’s offense was a no-show, Ole Miss fell apart in the second half, Tennessee’s offense barely cobbled together enough plays to defeat a Group of Five foe). Week One didn’t tell us anything other than that Alabama is ready to take on the SEC mantle in 2016 and they’re a ways ahead of their competitors right now.

mayfield sack

[George Bridges – ABC 13]

Big 12

Perhaps the most interesting matchup of the season’s opening weekend was OKLAHOMA – Houston; the Big 12 is embroiled in expansion talk, Houston is an ostensible candidate, and both teams were coming off of excellent seasons (OU won the Big 12 outright and made the playoff, Houston was the best Group of Five team and won the Peach Bowl against Florida State). The Sooners were simply outplayed by UH, but a critical 109-yard FG return for a touchdown (Kick-Six style) was a ten-point swing that was eventually the winning margin (33-23). Because they didn’t even attempt to fill lanes on an extremely long FG attempt with a returner back, it’s reasonable to assume that Oklahoma’s error there was one of coaching. Later in the 3rd quarter, Oklahoma missed a sure trick play touchdown and promptly turned the ball over afterwards. OU QB Baker Mayfield played below his standard on Saturday and, inexplicably, the Sooner brain trust gave him 49 touches (pass attempts + rushes) while outstanding RBs Samaje Perine and Joe Mixon combined for 71 yards on just 12 carries. The Sooner defense wasn’t able to successfully leverage its advantage in the trenches into general defensive success because of the ability of Houston QB Greg Ward and his receivers. While Oklahoma isn’t completely out of the playoff race by any means, they have plenty to fix before Ohio State rolls into town in two weeks.
Regardless of their playoff chances this season (and I think it would be really interesting to see if they’d get in over a two-loss Power Five champ), Houston looks very legit and is the obvious choice for one of the two spots up for grabs in Big 12 expansion. If they aren’t added to the league, it will definitely feel like the rest of the conference is afraid of adding another good program in the state of Texas. The subtext to Saturday’s win was that the Cougars demonstrated that they were already better than the Big 12’s best.

swoopesnd

[John Rivera – Today’s U]

In 2015, Notre Dame put up an embarrassing 38-3 score line against TEXAS, but on the second leg of the home-and-home, the Horns won a 50-47 double overtime thriller against the Fighting Irish, Charlie Strong’s best win to date at UT. New offensive coordinator Sterlin Gilbert came from the Briles coaching tree and remade a wretched attack in that image; Texas balanced a quarterback platoon of true freshman Shane Buchele and Tyrone Swoopes, who comes in as a jumbo runner, perhaps the best of anybody in all of college football (including Notre Dame, who gave possessions that seemingly should have gone to DeShone Kizer to Malik Zaire instead) and lit up the scoreboard against what should be a decent Irish defense. ND rallied from down 31-14 to force overtime after a late blocked-PAT-return-for-two tied the game with less than five minutes left, but settling for a field goal in the second overtime period ultimately doomed them. The obligatory Week One caveats apply, but it’s hard to argue that anybody’s stock is up more than Texas’s after one game in the books. At the very least, Strong has finally found an offense at UT.
Plenty of Big 12 teams won their opener, though nobody came close to the Horns’ quality of win. Missouri was terrible last year and could be again, so a win from WEST VIRGINIA over the Tigers was more of a relief than anything else. BAYLOR, TEXAS TECH, OKLAHOMA STATE, KANSAS(!) and TCU all hung gaudy point totals on FCS foes, but TCU also conceded 41 points in what was a three-score win over South Dakota State (the game was tied at halftime). Kansas, who went 0-12 last season, beat up on Rhode Island (55-6) and elicited a very modest field-storming that resulted in the PA announcer imploring the students not to embarrass the program. IOWA STATE actually lost to an FCS team (Northern Iowa) and what’s really embarrassing is that it wasn’t particularly hard to see that “upset” coming.
KANSAS STATE dropped a tough road game against Stanford by the score of 26-13. It still feels weird that it’s the case, but it’s reasonable to expect the Cardinal to be good year-in and year-out.

wisclsu

[Morry Gash – News Observer]

Big Ten

The story of Week One in the B1G is WISCONSIN, who notched the league’s best (regular season) non-conference result in some time. Even though new starting QB Bart Houston was average for stretches with brutal mistakes sprinkled in, TE Troy Fumagalli was a great safety valve and the running game was good enough (30 carries for 130 yards between the Badgers’ top two backs) to eke out a win. Of course, the story of the game was the Wisconsin defense: linebackers TJ Watt and Vince Biegel made LSU’s iffy QB uncomfortable and helped set the tone against Fournette in the running game. Perhaps it will be less effective when opponents start throwing “paper” and “scissors” instead of “rock” all the time, but LSU’s “rock” is usually excellent and the Badger’s defense was dominant for pretty much the entire contest and Wisconsin outplayed LSU on aggregate.
Entering the season, people took one look at the Wisconsin schedule and predicted doom for the Badgers; even though trips to Michigan State, Michigan, and Iowa as well as a home game against Ohio State remain, the LSU fixture unexpectedly resulted in a win. At the very least, Wisconsin’s odds of contending in the B1G West have seemingly gone up; if they were good enough to upset an LSU team that was considered a national title contender (though it’s worth noting that the Tigers’ play suggested something far less than that), they’re good enough to win that division.
Outside of that, there were several wins across the league, but few could be considered good. MINNESOTA notched a 30-23 home win against a Power Five opponent, but it was probably one of the worst P5 teams in the country in Oregon State. OHIO STATE and MICHIGAN absolutely destroyed Bowling Green and Hawaii, respectively (and BGSU was actually good last season). Like OSU, PENN STATE and IOWA took care of their MAC opponents; NEBRASKA and INDIANA also had smooth sailing against Group of Five (i.e. mid-major) opponents. MARYLAND and ILLINOIS dispatched their FCS sacrifices handily, and while PURDUE and MICHIGAN STATE defeated theirs, it took a little more effort.
While most of the conference won comfortably against their Week One foes, NORTHWESTERN stubbed their toe in horrifying fashion against a pretty darn good Western Michigan team, 22-21. (Side note: with games remaining against Illinois and NIU, the Broncos have an excellent chance of winning the state title). Both teams ran the ball for about four yards per carry and neither quarterback put together a good performance; the biggest difference was that backbreaking Clayton Thorson fumble into the end zone late in the fourth (the only turnover of the game) and Western’s ability to string together some long drives, hit some field goals, and run far more plays than the Wildcats were able to. While this doesn’t necessarily preclude Northwestern from contending in the West, it’s an inauspicious start for a team that won ten games in 2015.
RUTGERS was the only B1G team to play the role of non-conference cannon fodder, as they traveled to Washington – considered a Pac-12 contender – and were handed a 48-13 loss.

francois

[Joe Rondone – Tallahassee Democrat]

ACC

It’s amazing how quickly perception changes early in the season: before the game last night, FLORIDA STATE was a trendy pick to contend for a playoff bid and perhaps a national title – plenty of starters (and stars) were back on both sides of the ball and redshirt freshman QB Deondre Francois was supposed to be an upgrade. By about midway through the second quarter, after the Noles looked helpless on offense in the face of a brutal pass rush and after their secondary gave up some huge plays to Ole Miss’ vertical passing offense, Twitter was ready to declare them a fraud (myself included). A touchdown at the end of the first half made it a two-score game and a dominant 3rd quarter (in which Florida State outscored Ole Miss 23-0) quickly erased those sentiments. Francois made good use of his weapons and looked positively great after a shaky start despite facing pressure and taking hits pretty much all game. Star RB Dalvin Cook recovered from a crazy unforced fumble to put together a mostly good game, but Francois stole the show. After some glitches, the FSU defense was eventually able to contain Ole Miss’ passing game and a six-point second half was a massive improvement from the first stanza.
Despite one of Deshaun Watson’s most uneven performances under center for CLEMSON, they escaped an upset bid from Auburn behind an impressive defensive performance. Both RB Wayne Gallman and Watson were held in check on the ground by the Auburn defense; star Clemson WR Mike Williams looked great in his first game back from a devastating injury – the rapport between he and Watson was the Tigers’ best work on offense. It’s hard whether to assess more blame to Auburn or more credit to Clemson for holding the former to just 13 points, but the significant level of dysfunction from the quarterback position in the AU offense seems to have continued from last season. Regardless, Clemson played a talented opponent in a true road game to open the year and a win in that situation is always at least somewhat impressive, even if it’s a 19-13 clunker. That Dabo almost mismanaged his way into a late Hail Mary loss (instead of kicking a short field goal to go up nine and seal the win, he went for it on fourth down) kind of encapsulates how Clemson played: they got in their own way a little bit, but not enough to lose.
The favorite in the ACC Coastal is still probably NORTH CAROLINA, though seeing their lead slip away to eventually lose their opener to Georgia was a tough way to start the season. One potential point of concern is quarterback – Mitch Trubisky decisively won the job but struggled, throwing for just 156 yards on 40 attempts. Credit should go to RB / KR TJ Logan for injecting some life into the Tar Heel offense, though if their passing game doesn’t improve, they might take a huge step back from last season’s eleven-win campaign.
There were a number of blowouts: LOUISVILLE beat Charlotte 70-14 and had eight total first half touchdowns from wonderful sophomore QB Lamar Jackson; NC STATE, SYRACUSE, VIRGINIA TECH, PITT, DUKE, and MIAMI all defeated their FCS appetizers, but sometimes the appetizer eats you and VIRGINIA – in their first season under Bronco Mendenhalllost to FCS Richmond 37-20.
Like the SEC, the ACC started Week One with a single conference matchup featuring two offensively challenged teams in a close game: GEORGIA TECH defeated BOSTON COLLEGE 17-14 in a contest that took place in Ireland. Dedrick Mills’s short touchdown run with less than a minute left (after some surprisingly effective throws down the field) was the decisive score for the Yellow Jackets.
WAKE FOREST beat Tulane by the awful score of 7-3 – one of college football’s weirdest stats: WF coach Dave Clawson is 3-2 in games that saw the Demon Deacons score in single digits (4-16 in all other games).

mccafksu

[Ezra Shaw – LA Times]

Pac-12

The Pac-12 went 2-3 against fellow Power Five opponents in Week One, and since WASHINGTON defeated a team that only fits the strictest definition of “Power Five” (Rutgers), STANFORD had the best win of the opening weekend of any Pac-12 team by taking down Kansas State by a pedestrian 26-13 score. The Wildcats suggested that they may be a bit better than they were in 2015, but Stanford let them hang around after leading 17-0 early; a late touchdown run by Christian McCaffery (his second of the day) sealed things late after KSU had made it a one-score game. Determining whether Stanford’s defense was good (like last year) or KSU’s offense was simply horrible (like last year) is one of those fun Week One paradoxes that don’t get solved for a while.
Aside from those that win (which wasn’t particularly great in and of itself), few teams impressed in victory: UTAH, ARIZONA STATE, and OREGON took care of weak FCS foes, while COLORADO smoked rival Colorado State 44-7 (which might have been the conference’s best result, period). CAL didn’t play after defeating Hawaii in Week Zero.
USC and UCLA each lost to SEC West teams in the state of Texas: the Trojans were overwhelmed by Alabama in Jerryworld and the only silver lining is that they won’t have to face a team with that talent level again; UCLA underachieved in the first half and couldn’t get all the way back in a tough road environment against Texas A&M. Josh Rosen had a tougher-than-usual outing against the Aggies and, in addition to his picks, he was hit a lot – the A&M pass rush will probably be the best that UCLA will face all season.  The Bruins are probably the better of the two teams, but the Pac-12 South is wide open and a few weeks will have gone by before there’s much clarity in that race.
There were a few other losses across the league. WASHINGTON STATE started the season with a home loss to an FCS team for the second straight season, losing to Eastern Washington in a game in which EWU’s best player, a WR, caught 12 passes for 206 yards and 3 touchdowns. ARIZONA took a late lead against BYU despite trailing 15-3 with ten minutes left; a last-second field goal was the winner in an 18-16 contest at a neutral site (which was located in Arizona but probably had more BYU fans). As mentioned earlier, OREGON STATE lost to Minnesota.

Comments

ijohnb

September 7th, 2016 at 10:24 AM ^

to disagree regarding this opening weekend.  Yeah, there was a lot of the same ole same ole.  But there was a certain progressive "buildup" this year to good football that began on Thursday night.  App. State made Thursday night interesting and there was also a remotely watchable BIG contest between power 5 teams.  Furman legitimately pushed MSU on Friday and I watched a whole football game when I expected to get about a quarter.  Michigan played at the same time as a Top 25 game in the noon slot with an upset.  Wisconsin and LSU was an absolute nail-biter, and that all lead up to a pretty spectacular Texas-ND game.  Then you had FSU v. Ole Miss as a pretty satisfying dessert after most of the yelling was over.  I thought it was pretty damn entertaining.  If USC did not suck so hard(and even that game gave us an epic nut-stomp) it would have legitimately been one of the GOAT as far as opening weekends go.

schreibee

September 7th, 2016 at 3:29 PM ^

Last Saturday I watched from Game Day/BC-GT which was on pre-dawn here in SF, through our game, OU-Hou, Wiscy-LSU, Bama- USC, some AZ-BYU,until College Football Final, then on Sunday ND-Tex, and Monday FSU-Miss. All awesome to some degree or other!

This week, after our game I'm golfing! What a steaming pile the rest is (well, I guess our game would be lumped in there too to non fans of the schools involved!)

Week 3 I'll be in the Big House to see a possibly better than expected Colo... can't wait!!!!!

noahtahl

September 7th, 2016 at 1:42 PM ^

You obviously are a novice to football. The sec is a conference of multiple teams. 4of their top 5 teams either lost or squeaked out come from behind wins thanx to the sec requirement for homer refs .

You did not notice that in the first time in ...how many years?...an sec team, lsu, played north of the mason dixon line and did what?...LOST! This is very relevant and not something to brush off.

Time to research the sport of college football and stop being a journalistic geeky finebaum wannabe.

PS. Stop watching espn

MI Expat NY

September 7th, 2016 at 10:25 AM ^

Couple thoughts:  Houston will almost certainly be in over a two-loss Power 5 champ.  Houston has already done the hard part and gotten themselves into the top 10.  The only way it changes is if Oklahoma and Louisville prove to be .500ish ball clubs.  Alternatively, if Oklahoma proves to be really good (say they beat Ohio State in two weeks and win the  Big 12), I'd think an undefeated Houston is almost a guarantee to be in, regardless of what anyone else does.  

On the Florida State-Ole Miss game, I thought the first half was more about FSU ineptitude than Ole Miss dominance.  Two plays had a huge impact on the perception of that first half.  Chad Kelly threw what looked like an intercepiton into the end zone that got tipped up and resulted in a TD, and Cook dropping the ball for who knows what reason while waltzing in for a TD.  Change those plays and the halftime score is 21-17 Ole Miss despite a dozen penalties and a half-dozen (at least) blown coverages by FSU.  Sure, Ole Miss did some nice things, especially on the defensive line, and their tempo did significantly contribute to FSU's secondary issues.  But, the only thing that kept htis from being a comfortable 25+ point victory for FSU were their own issues in the first half.  

MI Expat NY

September 7th, 2016 at 10:37 AM ^

I'm not sure they played any faster than I've seen them, what they did, that I thought was different, was they were much more consistent about it.  An incompletion, bad run, sack, whatever, they were going tempo right out of it, and I think that threw FSU off.  I'm sure that tempo heavily contributed to FSU's issues.  But, on the other hand, FSU should also have handled it a lot better.  

canzior

September 7th, 2016 at 10:45 AM ^

Depends on who it is. 2 loss SEC Champ gets in over Houston, Michigan or OSU as conf champs with 2 losses get in over Houston (unless OSU loses to Oklahoma).  It's not just about wins, their SOS is terrible.  What if Louisville loses or isn't ranked by the end of the year?  Their resume may hold them back.  Beating Oklahoma and Louisville won't matter as much as beating combinations of Wisconsin, Michigan, MSU, OSU, Iowa or Bama, Ole Miss, Georgia, Florida, TAMU.

MI Expat NY

September 7th, 2016 at 11:37 AM ^

Yes, Houston's SOS will be bad compared to most Power 5 conference champions.  But, being undefeated is going to be worth something, especially considering they will have two legitimate non-conference opponents (again, assuming Oklahoma and Louisville live up to expectations).  If Michigan is a two-loss Big Ten champion, who exactly have we beaten?  Going 3-2 against the collection you mention plus wins over teams not much better than the AAC will not be viewed as better than an undefeated Houston.  If Ohio State has two loses, but a win over Oklahoma, how do they win the Big Ten unless the Big Ten proves to be rather average?  I assume the only way the SEC manages a two-loss champion is with a shocking upset in the championship game, or if LSU/Ole Miss manages to upset Alabama, and then the question is really about a 1-loss Alabama jumping that SEC champion.  

I just don't see a reality where a 2-loss team gets more love than the best possible resume a group of 5 team can put out there.  

 

The Maizer

September 7th, 2016 at 1:21 PM ^

But for Houston to get in, there would have to be 2 power five champs with 2 losses, right? And that is assuming the various 2-teams-from-one-conference scenarios being talked about also do not happen (e.g. Clemson/FSU). I agree that a 2 loss big ten team probably doesn't make the playoff, but I'm not sure it is undefeated Houston taking that spot.

MI Expat NY

September 7th, 2016 at 5:12 PM ^

The OP phrased it as a question of Houston getting in over a 2-loss Power 5 champion.  I think it's pretty clear that they would.  I think the scenario assumes that it's coming down to Houston vs. a couple 2-loss champions.  

Most people talk about the ACC as being the most likely to produce two top-four teams, with only one loss between FSU and Clemson.  But I think that is actually a bad scenario to keep Houston out.  The ACC outside the top two just isn't very good.  If it's a one-loss conference runner up Clemson, with non-conference wins over mediocre to bad SEC opponents Auburn and South Carolina, I'm not sure they'll get much of a boost on SOS basis.  Then it comes down to politics, and if the system is going to keep two or more power 5 conferences out, they may be more inclined to do so for a group of 5 school to show how "fair" the current system is.  

Of course, there is a ton of football left to play, so it's sort of silly to get into the weeds.  I do stand by my contention that an undefeated Houston is easily in over a 2-loss Power 5 champion, barring collapses by Oklahoma and Louisville.  

gmoney41

September 7th, 2016 at 12:42 PM ^

It really does hinge on Oklahoma being really good in order for Houston getting in the playoffs.  If Okl falls then that big win suddenly doesn't look that great.  

I can't wait to play Wisconsin.  Hopefully they keep winning and keep moving up the rankings.  They are just too one dimensional on offense and I think our D will have a field day against them.  Yes they beat LSU, but LSU looks average AF.

CompleteLunacy

September 7th, 2016 at 10:31 AM ^

You have a top tier RB and continually get top talent at WR...so what's the problem? How is it so hard to find a QB that can compliment that? He doesn't have to be a star. He just has to make a play here or there. You know, not suck.

Tells me the coaching is the problem.

ijohnb

September 7th, 2016 at 10:35 AM ^

have an offense, unsurprisingly similar to Lloyd-era Michigan teams, that plans entire games around landing two or three big plays out of a ball control grind and ground offense.  The only problem is that those plays never land so they control the ball but never really go anywhere with it.  It is coaching and QB development and has been for about five years.

Duval Wolverine

September 7th, 2016 at 11:24 AM ^

Coaching is a huge problem, LSU has the talent to compete and beat any team in the country even BAMA, but refuse to try anything new!  Its sad to see such wasted offensive talent at LSU, while Les Miles continues to run up the middle against a loaded box!  I am so glad he never came to Michigan!

Rabbit21

September 7th, 2016 at 4:20 PM ^

UCLA's Offensive Line is basically Michigan's line of 2013.  Decent tackles, but a disaster on the interior.  It's going to destroy their season as they have talent everywhere else, but that is a crippling weakness, since they are moving to a more power based offense.

Throw in a defense that has talent, but with no real natural pass rushers save for a lightly deployed Outside Linebacker in Deon Hollins with a D-coordinator who refuses to blitz and you have a recipe for a sludgefart season.  Mora made a gamble based on the constant frustration of being turned into Stanford's bitch every year and it could have worked out if their starting guards from last year hadn't made incredibly dumb decisions to declare for the draft.  

This is going to be an interesting year to watch play out for UCLA, as bad as this line is BYU and Stanford should both murderate them and starting out the year 1-3 might just torpedo a team most see as being mentally and physically soft.  

Mora is starting to look like a slightly better Brady Hoke, he was able to mobilize a gifted group of upperclassmen and use a gifted quarterback in Brett Hundley to out-athlete teams, but he has some weaknesses he just cannot overcome and there's a loyalty to underperforming staff members that is killing him.

HimJarbaugh

September 7th, 2016 at 10:44 AM ^

I watched a bit of the UMass-Florida game and was shocked that UMass' D-line got push on the Florida OL. Between that, attrition, and a lack of experience, I think this could be a rough season for UF.

The same thing happened a bit in the Tennessee game. App. State was smaller and kept getting injured but they were around the ball and made a bunch of TFLs. If it weren't for the missed PAT and the long TD pass, they would be 0-1.

One team to keep an eye on: Maryland. I know they beat some cupcake. They also shut them out for three quarters and only let up scores on the backups. Durkin could have something going there once the recruiting and depth work their way through the program.

elhead

September 7th, 2016 at 11:01 AM ^

Most interesting thing for me this weekend was seeing Alabama with a mobile QB. That's a new thing, as if Nick Saban were trying to take a page from Urban's playbook. I wonder if Saban was the guy at Bama recruiting the QB (Jalen Hurts). It certainly adds another dimension to that offense.

WolverineHistorian

September 7th, 2016 at 11:02 AM ^

You bring up an excellent and yet very depressing point. The three toughest opponents Alabama will face this year pretty much looked like dog turd in week one. I know there's a ton of football left to be played but speaking as someone who is tired of Bama, their fans, their endless boosters throwing wads of cash at players and recruits and the media pleasuring themselves to anything involving Nick Saban....this does not make me feel good.

dragonchild

September 7th, 2016 at 11:09 AM ^

ACC and B1G are still TBD because of all the FCS/MAC dates.  Big 12. . . I just don't care about, sorry.  Just being honest; any snowflake take out of diligence would just be a regurgitation of someone else's opinion.

Northwestern probably lost to a better team than Virginia, but I still didn't expect that from a team that won 10 games last year.  It's not like they lost any once-a-generation (for NU) players like a Darnell Autry.

MICHandCHIPS

September 7th, 2016 at 11:11 AM ^

Your byu-arizona blurb confused me. It sounded like you were saying Arizona won, when I could have sworn byu did. Had to Google to confirm. Other than that small quip, very entertaining write up.

Sent from MGoBlog HD for iPhone & iPad

Duval Wolverine

September 7th, 2016 at 11:13 AM ^

I have to agree with ijohnb.....This was a great first week with a bunch of good games, Texas/ND being the most entertaining of them all!  I was not too impressed by the LSU/Wisconsin game, they looked like two average teams slugging it out!  If it werent for LSU #5 ranking, no one would care about that game or thought it was at all impressive!

mgowild

September 7th, 2016 at 1:14 PM ^

To be fair, the SEC played some very good opponents this week and came away with some nice wins. I suspect the B1G would come out looking worse than they did had they been playing teams like USC, UCLA, Clemson, Florida State, North Carolina and West Virginia.

Yes I'm glad they lost 6 non-conference games in Week 1, but they deserve some credit for scheduling worthy opponents.

mgowild

September 7th, 2016 at 2:25 PM ^

Okay, 3 teams out of 12 scheduled cupcakes. I look at the B1G scoreboard from Week 1 and see Furman, Bowling Green, Hawaii, Eastern Kentucky, Howard, Murray State, Kent State, FIU, Western Michigan and Miami (OH). 

I mean, it kind of shows what the rest of us suspected all along, that the SEC isn't that far ahead of the other Power 5 conferences. But give them credit for scheduling the games, because after suffering 6 losses, it may not happen again LOL. 

lhglrkwg

September 7th, 2016 at 12:35 PM ^

if you want to see what Week 1 usually looks like, just look at this week's slate. Every Top 25 team is playing some mid-major also-ran except for TCU v Arkansas and Tennessee v VT

With this year's week 1 featuring FSU-Ole Miss, Wisconsin-LSU, Houston-OU, UNC-UGA. and Texas-ND, I feel like it's absolutely the greatest opening weekend of the past decade at minimum. Plus there was the cherry on top that was the SEC humiliating themselves all weekend.

Sugaloaf

September 7th, 2016 at 12:37 PM ^

More bullets. Less words. Already so much to read each week (which I love) but this feature being non-B1G-centric, maybe do more of a 1000ft view for each conference?

Or at the least, like they do in the pressers, a bulleted list at the front of each conference section?

Thanks for all the great work!

Sent from MGoBlog HD for iPhone & iPad

Steves_Wolverines

September 7th, 2016 at 2:14 PM ^

Great Week 1 for the state of Texas:

Texas beat ND

Texas A&M beat UCLA

Houston beat Oklahoma

TCU beat South Dakota State

Baylor beat Northwestern St.

Texas Tech beat Stephen F Austin (a wash for the state of Texas)

Texas St. beat Ohio

Texas San Antonio beat Alabama State

SMU beat North Texas (another wash for the state of Texas)

UTEP beat New Mexico State

Abilene Christian LOST to Air Force

10-3 record (with 2 loses to fellow Texas schools)

ATL JAY

September 7th, 2016 at 3:48 PM ^

Man oh man, Northwestern. When do they put Fitz on the hot seat?? I mean, I understand he's an alum and all. But where do you draw the line? Also, who would they hire to replace him?

Steves_Wolverines

September 7th, 2016 at 4:52 PM ^

No way they let go of Pat. They've had two 10-win seasons, won a bowl game, and he's shown he can put together a team that's competitive against almost anyone. He's recruiting well, and I think they are looking to stay around a 8-10 win team under his watch. Why would NW want to fire someone who can get them to a good bowl game? WMU is a legit team, and they have a ton of NFL players on that team. Week 1, blah blah blah. NW will be ready to play come B1G season.