They are who we thought they were. That was the mantra in Week 1 of the college football season. Alabama was a big 24-7 winner over Florida State in Atlanta in the biggest game in Week 1 of a season we’ve ever seen. The Seminoles acquitted themselves well in the game and proved that they have some fight in them, especially on the defensive side of the ball. But the Tide reigned supreme and are easily going to be the No. 1 team in America next week.
Looking for upsets in the Top 25? You didn’t really find any in Week 1, though there were a few games that ended up being closer for longer than you probably would have expected. Western Michigan hung in there with USC for about 50 minutes before succumbing in the end, easily covering the spread, while Wisconsin needed 30 practice minutes before stomping on Utah State with 59 unanswered points.
Biggest Win of Week 1 – Clemson 56, Kent State 3
Alright, so the Golden Flashes aren’t very good. But Clemson definitely is. On a night when Alabama flexed its muscle as the top team in the land, the Tigers are out looking for respect. Kelly Bryant went 16-for-22 for 236 yards and a touchdown in his debut as the starter replacing Deshaun Watson, and it’s hard to say that this Clemson team did anything but look the part of a title contender once again.
Biggest Upset of Week 1 – Maryland 51, Texas 41
Maybe we should have seen this coming. The Longhorns are still a work in progress in the first year of the Tom Herman era, and all of their talent is still awfully raw. Shane Buechele did his job, throwing for 375 yards, but you can’t let a team like Maryland rack up 482 yards of offense in what was largely a one-dimensional game.
Biggest Upset of All-Time – Howard 43, UNLV 40
You probably heard of Texas getting beaten by Maryland. UNLV losing to Howard might’ve flown under the radar. The Bison were 45-point underdogs, bigger than Stanford was against USC or bigger than Syracuse was against Louisville (both games came back in 2007). Caylin Newton (you might’ve heard of his brother, Cam) was unstoppable on the day, and generated the biggest upset in college football history in the town that made gambling on sports a thing in this country.
Closest Call of Week 1 – Pittsburgh 28, Youngstown State 21 (OT)
The Panthers should be ashamed of themselves. Youngstown State isn’t the worst FCS program out there for sure, but the Penguins were down 21-0 at halftime and looked completely out of it against Pittsburgh. That said, YSU scored the last 21 points of the game in the second half, including two touchdowns on its last two drives of the game. The Panthers should have won it at the end of regulation when Alex Kessman missed a 28-yard field goal at the gun. Fortunately, they did go on to win it after a Bricen Garner interception sealed the deal in the first overtime period.
Strangest Game of Week 1 – Marshall 31, Miami (OH) 26
It’s not often that you score 21 points on special teams and still almost find a way to lose a game. The Thundering Herd tried their best against Miami on Saturday. They started off the game with a kick return for a touchdown by Keion Davis, who later returned a second kick for a score. The game seemed in hand when Chris Jackson picked off Gus Ragland and brought it back 72 yards for Marshall’s third non-offensive touchdown. Yet when push came to shove, the Thundering Herd still needed to bat down a pass from Ragland at the gun to preserve a 31-26 triumph.
Biggest Injury of Week 1 – Deondre Francois
Even though Jacob Eason could fit in this space, too, Francois gets the nod because he’s out for the rest of the year after tearing his patellar tendon. Florida State’s season is probably effectively over after just one game, a 24-7 loss to Alabama in which the club was incredibly gritty but was never truly in it in the second half when the wheels started to come off. With Francois done for the year, it’ll be up to true freshman James Blackman to carry the load for the garnet and gold, a task that is awfully tall on a team that legitimately thought it could win the National Championship just a few days ago.