The wait for the 2017 season seemed like an eternity. There were some scattered games between last Saturday and Friday, but most of the real week 1 games came yesterday, and did not disappoint. Here are some winners and losers from week 1.
Winner: Michigan Defense- After returning just 3 starters from last years team, the Michigan defense did more than impress against Florida in one of the biggest games of the weekend. Don Brown’s group allowed just 192 total yards, 181 through the air and just 11 yards on the ground. Florida did have a few notable suspensions on the offense, but it shouldn’t have been that much of a game-changer. Highly recruited redshirt Freshman QB Feleipe Franks got the start, but was eventually benched for Notre Dame transfer Malik Zaire. Michigan’s defense totaled 6 sacks and 11 TFL on just 53 plays.
Loser: ACC- I was never one to accept the “ACC is the best conference” debate, and after this week that argument should slow down a bit. The ACC was extremely underwhelming this week from top to bottom. Notable results include Boston College’s 3 point squeaker with Northern Illinois, Conference “dark horse” NC State’s loss to South Carolina, North Carolina’s home loss to rebuilding Cal with a first year head coach, Pitt needing overtime to defeat Youngstown State, Louisville narrowly surviving against Purdue, and Florida State getting dominated by Alabama. Georgia Tech plays Tennessee on Monday, but I am expecting Tennessee to pull that one out without much fight, and Virginia Tech faces West Virginia on Sunday as another toss up that might not go the ACC’s way.
Winner: Oklahoma State- Oklahoma State kicked off the season Thursday with a sneaky Tulsa team, who won 10 games last season. The Cowboy’s high octane offense came into the season with high hopes, and didn’t let anyone down. Quarterback Mason Rudolph lead the way throwing 20/24, 303 yards and 3 touchdowns. Star receiver James Washington also put on a show, having 145 yards and 2 touchdowns. They also showed balance in the running game lead by sophomore RB Justice Hill, who ran for 132 yards and a touchdown on 15 carries. Some experts had the Pokes as a dark horse for the College Football Playoff, and that is certainly possible going forward.
Loser: Sam Darnold and Josh Allen- In Mel Kiper Jr’s most recent NFL Draft big board, his top two overall prospects were Sam Darnold and Josh Allen. Both of them had very underwhelming performances Saturday to say the least. Sam Darnold was slightly better than Allen, totaling 289 yards but had no touchdowns and 2 interceptions against group of 5 Western Michigan. Josh Allen on the other hand threw for 174 yards, but also had no touchdowns and 2 pics in route to a 24-3 loss to Iowa. Allen has played just two games against Power 5 opponents, and has remarkably thrown 7 interceptions to just 1 touchdown in those games. It seems Allen should drop significantly come the next update of the draft boards.
Winner: Alabama- Florida State was ranked as the 3rd best team in the country going into the opening week, and deservingly so. That being said, Alabama showed they were simply a better team than Florida State. The Tide defense was the X-factor and allowed just 250 total yards, including 40 on the ground, and also picked off star QB Deondre Francois twice. Jalen Hurts wasn’t exceptional, but was serviceable with around 100 passing yards, a touchdown, no interceptions, and 55 rushing yards. The running game was spread out well after Hurts, as Damien Harris and Bo Scarborough split carries to total 113 yards. The offense will improve after going against one of the countries top defensive units in week one, and the Crimson Tide look to have another routine season in Tuscaloosa.
Loser: Texas- “Texas is back folks!” We heard it last year after a big week one stunner over then 10th ranked Notre Dame, but they went on to finish 5-7. We heard it all preseason after what was thought to be an A+ hire of Tom Herman coupled with a loaded roster, and they start 0-1 after losing to Maryland at home. While it’s far too early to tell how they will end up when all is said and done, Texas fans are surely shocked and disappointed again. One bright spot for the Horns was the passing game, but even that had its flaws that came with it. Shane Buechele threw for 375 yards and two touchdowns, but also threw an interception and it took 52 passing attempts to total that yardage. Running Back Chris Warren III also underperformed, having just 6 carries for 31 yards. They will need to put this slow start in the past and hit the ground running next week if they want to remain in Big 12 contention, even though this was an out of conference loss.