The Gridiron Review: Week One in College Football
It is finally here. The opening week of college football season provided some great moments. Whether it was the number of upsets, the tight UGA-Clemson contest, the stellar performances of a number of true freshmen like Christian Hackenburg, who is beginning a new era for Penn State, or any other exciting element, it was a great inaugural weekend for college football fans. Here is a rundown of Week 1:
Player of the Week- WR Jamarcus Nelson (UAB)- 199 receiving yards, 168 kickoff return yards, and 3 total touchdowns.
Runner Up- WR Christion Jones (Alabama)- 3 total TDs, 47 yards receiving and 209 yards total on kickoff and punt returns
What we have learned…
1. The Clemson Tigers are for real, and, while they have a tough road ahead (including games against FSU and South Carolina), they established themselves as one of the top teams in the country.
2. So are the Louisville Cardinals. Teddy Bridgewater and company steamrolled a solid Ohio Bobcats team. Mike Dyer, the former MVP of the BCS title game, also looked very good in limited action.
3. The SEC is good, but not invincible. Georgia, Mississippi State, and Kentucky all lost to out-of-conference foes.
LB Khalil Mack (Buffalo)- Sure, Mack’s Bulls lost to Ohio State, but the star linebacker, an NFL prospect, really showed himself well. His team managed to avoid getting blown out by the consensus #2, and he was instrumental in that. Mack finished the game with 9 tackles, 2.5 sacks, and 1 interception, greatly improving his draft stock on the biggest stage he will ever play on.
HC Dabo Swinney (Clemson)- In the biggest game of week, Swinney’s Clemson Tigers proved they are a legitimate national title contender by defeating the Georgia Bulldogs 38-35.
DT Montravius Adams (Auburn)- His first play from scrimmage was a sack. It seemed like he was in the backfield just about every other play in which he was involved.
HC Bobby Petrino (Western Kentucky)- After being passed up by numerous SEC schools, including Kentucky, Petrino’s team defeated the Wildcats 35-26 in a nice victory for the Sun Belt.
The FCS- Eastern Washington’s victory over Oregon State may have been the headliner, but there were a total of seven games in which the FCS team defeated an FBS foe.
CB Jonathon Mincy (Auburn)- His Auburn team and his defense looked much improved, but Mincy was frequently torched. Making matters worse, he dropped three near interceptions that would have assisted the Tigers in expanding their lead.
Boise State- Many were critical when I did not pick the Broncos to win the Mountain West or as a top 25 team. Washington’s 38-6 drubbing of Boise State confirmed what I have been saying: this is not your typical Broncos team.
Oregon State- Although I saw the Beavers as a middle of the road PAC 12 team at best, they were ranked in the top 25. They suffered an embarrassing loss to Eastern Washington.
HC Mark Stoops- The Kentucky program pulled a coup to land Stoops, and he has done a stellar job recruiting for the Wildcats. A loss to Sun Belt foe Western Kentucky is bound to halt that momentum.
Johnny Manziel- There was some hope that the reigning Heisman Trophy winner would be able to end the drama once the season started. That did not happen.
1. QB Teddy Bridgewater, Louisville- In week one, Bridgewater really took a lead in the Heisman race as the Cardinals quarterback looked nearly flawless going 23-28 for 355 yards and 5 TD in a dominant win over the Ohio Bobcats.
2. QB Tajh Boyd, Clemson- The best way to move ahead in the Heisman race is to win the big wins. Knocking off Georgia in week one was huge, and Boyd threw for 270 yards and ran for another 42 with a total of 5 touchdowns.
3. QB Marcus Mariota, Oregon- Sure, it was against Nicholls State, but 234 yards passing, 113 yards rushing, and 3 touchdowns are not bad numbers for the electric Ducks quarterback.
4. QB Braxton Miller, Ohio State- It was not a spectacular day for Miller, but the Buckeyes still won behind his 178 yards passing, two touchdowns, and 77 yards on the ground.
5. RB Duke Johnson, Miami- The sophomore was phenomenal against Florida Atlantic. He averaged 9.8 yards per carry en route to a 186 yard day and one touchdown on the ground. He also had a 38 yard reception for the Hurricanes.
6. QB Johnny Manziel, Texas A&M- Johnny Drama managed to make headlines for more than his play once again on Saturday, but he is still the reigning winner and looked good against a solid Rice team, going 6-8 for 94 yards and 3 touchdowns. He also had 19 yards rushing.
7. QB Brett Hundley, UCLA- The Bruins signal caller looked sharp as his team routed Nevada. He threw for 274 yards while running for another 63.
8. QB Jordan Lynch, Northern Illinois- The Huskies quarterback was not as dominant as he was at times last year, but he still managed 275 yards passing, 3 touchdowns, and 56 yards rushing as his team avenged their one loss of 2012 by defeating the Iowa Hawkeyes.
9. QB Derek Carr, Fresno State- The Bulldogs defeated power conference opponent Rutgers on the arm of Carr, who threw for 456 yards and 5 touchdowns.
10. WR Sammy Watkins, Clemson- Watkins is the best receiver in college football, and his 127 yards and 1 touchdown in a key game against Georgia are enough to keep him in the Heisman conversation.
Stock rising: RB Alex Collins (Arkansas), WR Christion Jones (Alabama), WR Jamarcus Nelson (UAB)
Stock falling: QB AJ McCarron (Alabama), RB TJ Yeldon (Alabama), DE Jadeveon Clowney (South Carolina)
Due to Florida State's game on Monday, the top 25 will not be released until the conclusion of that game.