What a week to get the college football season going in earnest.
Week One is typically supposed to be a pretty boring week outside of a few matchups, but this was a fascinating set of results for a variety of reasons.
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Colorado beat a bad TCU team
Stetson Bennet threw for 300 yards and four touchdowns against TCU in a 65-7 thrashing. Stetson Bennet did that.
Then TCU lost its best players. And then it played Colorado.
So while we should absolutely be taking Colorado more seriously than some did entering the season, we should also relax a bit. Colorado is not going to the playoff and in all likelihood will be lucky to get to a bowl game. TCU is very bad. That defense was an embarrassment to everything Gary Patterson built. I still have hope for Chandler Morris, but that was an awful start to his tenure as QB1.
I’m a Deion Sanders supporter, but I wasn’t a huge fan of his post conference. Reporters are not supposed to “believe” in any teams they’re covering. They’re supposed to be unbiased journalists documenting the truth. Of course, in 2023, few of these journalists exist at all, so I guess I can’t completely fault Sanders for his statement.
Texas Tech laid an egg
Going into Week One, I hadn’t seen this level of hype around a Texas Tech team since the glory days of the late Mike Leach. Big 12 pundits showered the Red Raiders with praise, annointing them as this year’s TCU – the suprise team to make a College Football Playoff.
And boy, did the Red Raiders disappoint.
Wyoming is not a good football team. Don’t let anyone fool you into thinking this was a just loss. Under no circumstance should Tech have dropped the season opener to a team picked to finish sixth in the Mountain West.
I like Joey McGuire, but what happened here? Tech needs to regroup – and fast – before this weekend tilt with Oregon.
Duke stunned Clemson
Clemson utterly folded multiple times in a game it should’ve won by two touchdowns. I don’t want to discredit Duke here, because the Blue Devils have a legitimate quarterback in Riley Leonard. But Clemson was the better team that made catastrophic mistakes at the worst times, and that is the only reason the Tigers dropped their season opener.
The media is scurrying to declare this the end of the Clemson dynasty because of its overwhelming disdain for Dabo Swinney. I certainly wouldn’t call myself a fan of his, but you’re out of your mind if you think Clemson is going to fade into irrelevance. Swinney remains an elite coach and recruiter, and he’ll have this team back to postseason relevance soon. I do question whether Cade Klubnik is as good as everyone’s saying, though.
Florida State obliterated LSU in the second half
I think I’m the sole remaining Notre Dame college football fan who actually respects Brian Kelly. He is a top-3 football coach in the country when it comes to actually coaching the game. Is he an unmotivated recruiter? Yes. Does he have a questionable track record with developing quarterbacks? Certainly. But he has done nothing but win everywhere he’s gone.
So I was shocked to see him let this one get away. LSU is a more talented team than Florida State. I thought the Tigers had the better quarterback, and certainly the better defense. This was a complete surprise, and I have no idea what to make of it. Come back to me in a week.
Texas, Ohio State, Wisconsin posted underwhelming victories
I’m as anti-Texas as they come, but even I came into this season believing Quinn Ewers was going to lead the Longhorns to a Big 12 championship and possibly earn himself a trip to New York. Yet the ‘Horns did what they’ve perennially done the last decade – disappointed.
Before the season started, I picked Texas to beat Alabama. I’m not feeling great about it, but it could still happen. We’ll see how Bama’s offense looks. But either way, I don’t like UT’s chances at postseason glory.
Meanwhile, Ohio State looked like it was about to lose an unexecusable game to Indiana to open the year. Thank goodness for the Buckeye defense – or Indiana’s inept offense, whichever was more responsible – because Kyle McCord and the glorious Ohio State receiving corps looked mediocre.
I will continue to lament Luke Fickell and his horrendous decision to destroy the Wisconsin brand by revamping the offense into a gimmicky Air Raid philosophy. You’re Wisconsin. Your state produces elite offensive lineman who like to maul people for fun. And now you’re asking them to move backwards and get bull rushed 40 times a game. I hate it.
Wisconsin football is about pounding the rock and playing hard-nosed defense. It worked at a high level for decades. But because you had a couple of bad years, you go away from everything that made you successful for so long? Wisconsin deserves to be 5-7 every year for the rest of time until they re-embrace their true identity and get back to running the ball. Have fun losing your top in-state linemen to Penn State and Notre Dame.
Penn State, North Carolina turned in quality wins
There are reasonably high expectations for both of these teams for 2023, but I think both teams made a statement in Week One that they’re capable of reaching much higher highs than we originally anticipated.
I’ve already floated the idea that Penn State can make the playoff this year out there, and I think others are taking note. Drew Allar is the real deal and so is that Penn State defense. West Virginia had no idea what hit it.
Sam Howell was the object of so much NFL Draft affection this offseason, but it was nice to finally see him in action. He looked great against a solid South Carolina defense, and the Tar Heels have to feel good about their season outlook after that rivalry win.
Baylor suffered embarrassing loss
Baylor is going to be bad this year. I’m unsure about Blake Shapen. The defense is totally suspect. I’m not sold on Dave Aranda. There’s truly not much to like about this program right now.
But how about Texas State? What an incredible hire by that athletic department to go and get UIW’s G.J. Kinne. I hope the Bobcats enjoy the time they have with him, because a Power 5 program is going to snatch him up soon. Congrats to them for now, and definitely keep an eye on what’s going on in San Marcos this year.