College football winners, losers, overreactions for Week 1: Alabama remains king, Clemson not playoff-caliber

Week 1 of the 2021 season proved why faculty soccer is unmatched. Not solely did we see a number of the prime groups within the sport flex their muscle groups, however we noticed two groups from the identical convention emerge because the early favorites to win the nationwide championship. No. 5 Georgia topped No. 3 Clemson in a battle of heavyweights and the fearsome Bulldogs’ defensive entrance took middle stage in a 10-3 victory. Within the different marquee kickoff recreation, No. 1 Alabama had no downside dispatching No. 14 Miami in a straightforward 44-13 win. 

However the motion did not finish there. A number of FBS squads misplaced to FCS opponents, whereas a few playoff contenders had been pushed to the restrict by lesser squads. That is what makes college football so enjoyable: the center of the game is full and utter chaos. 

For the primary time in a yr, we’ve got precise video games to speak about. With that stated, listed below are winners, losers and overreactions from an exhilarating Week 1. 


The Tide maintain rolling: Rumors of Alabama’s demise have been enormously exaggerated. New quarterback Bryce Young was great with 344 yards passing and 4 touchdowns in his first actual motion and the No. 1 Crimson Tide protection sat on D’Eriq King and the No. 14 Hurricanes offense all afternoon lengthy. With out making an attempt particularly onerous, the Tide outgained the Canes 501-266. There will likely be more durable video games on the schedule for the Tide, however this was as definitive a season-opening efficiency as you will discover in faculty soccer. Alabama continues to be the group to beat. 

Longhorns all over the place: It is by no means too early to start out the season as certainly one of faculty soccer’s most hyped gamers, however Texas sophomore operating again Bijan Robinson lived as much as it in Week 1. Robinson touched the ball 24 occasions in complete, exploding for 176 complete yards and two touchdowns in opposition to No. 23 Louisiana. He ended up being a lethal weapon within the passing recreation for first-year quarterback Hudson Card. Greater than something, Robinson was a mismatch and first-year coach Steve Sarkisian confirmed how you can take full benefit of his immense presents. If No. 21 Texas will get this Robinson each week, the Longhorns are going to be fairly good, and their followers are going to be rattling glad.

The FCS: Since so few groups performed nonconference video games in 2020, there was an actual lack of FCS upsets over FBS groups. The one one featured a horrid New Mexico State group shedding to FCS transitioning member Tarleton State throughout the spring season. However over this primary weekend of faculty soccer alone, there have been six such upsets. 

Montana topped No. 20 Washington for simply the fifth-ever ranked win by an FCS opponent. ETSU crushed Vanderbilt 23-3 in Clark Lea’s debut. UC Davis topped Tulsa, Japanese Washington beat UNLV, Holy Cross crushed UConn and nationwide runner-ups South Dakota State demolished Colorado State. Not solely had been there main upsets, however applications like Northern Iowa and Missouri State additionally pushed energy opponents to the brink. If anybody wants proof there may be nice soccer being performed within the FCS ranks, this weekend is a stark reminder. 

Protection: Flashy quarterbacks may be the brand new development in faculty soccer, however protection dominated in essential Week 1 video games. Virginia Tech had an especially Virginia Tech recreation to beat No. 10 North Carolina and quarterback Sam Howell on Friday night time. Then, No. 19  Penn State overcame a putrid offensive day due to some unbelievable defensive performs, together with a pair of essential picks on Wisconsin quarterback Graham Mertz, in a 16-10 win over the No. 12 Badgers on Saturday. No. 18 Iowa additionally did its factor with three interceptions off quarterback Michael Penix Jr. and No. 17 Indiana. It was becoming that the distinction within the Clemson-Georgia recreation additionally got here right down to protection, as Christopher Smith’s choose six for Georgia broke a scoreless impasse. Actually? Excessive scoring matchups are tons of enjoyable, however there’s nothing fairly like a dominant protection asserting its will. Particularly for faculties working via quarterback rising pains, high-quality defensive performances may help increase the ground. 


The American: No. 8 Cincinnati nonetheless stays the favourite to earn the Group of 5’s New Yr’s Six bid, however some really horrid performances from convention mates positive did not do the Bearcats any favors. Within the Thursday slate alone, AAC runner-up Tulsa misplaced to FCS opponent UC Davis, NC State blanked South Florida, and East Carolina was totally outclassed by Appalachian State. Navy misplaced to Marshall, 49-7, and Rutgers smacked Temple, 61-14. UCF did pull off a pleasant win over Boise State, however the league is beginning 2021 behind the eight-ball. Plus, Indiana getting crushed and probably dropping out of the AP High 25 provides the Bearcats one fewer resume level. 

Heisman Trophy hopefuls: Bryce Younger apart, the remainder of the faculty soccer’s elite quarterbacks did not have an incredible begin to 2021. Howell threw the primary fourth-quarter interceptions of his profession in opposition to the Hokies. No. 2 Oklahoma’s Spencer Rattler threw a pair of picks and let Tulane practically pull off an upset. No. 6 Texas A&M’s Haynes King threw three picks to let Kent State dangle round far too lengthy. Clemson’s D.J. Uiagalelei was hounded all day by the ferocious Georgia protection. Even No. 7 Iowa State’s Brock Purdy was inconsistent in an in depth recreation in opposition to Northern Iowa. If any group plans to compete with Alabama for the nationwide championship, its quarterbacks must do higher than what we noticed in Week 1.  


The SEC can simply get two groups within the School Soccer Playoff: Granted, Alabama and Georgia give the SEC two robust contenders yearly, however Week 1 supplied the league with a large benefit. Beating two of the ACC’s prime groups — and North Carolina shedding, besides — implies that nearly any one-loss SEC group will beat out a one-loss ACC squad. Add shaky showings from Oklahoma and No. 11 Oregon in season openers in opposition to Group of 5 opponents, and actually any mixture of Alabama, Georgia, Texas A&M or some other one-loss SEC squad will likely be in fine condition. 

2019 was the fluke for LSU, not 2020: Ed Orgeron led LSU to an undefeated 2019 nationwide championship with one of many biggest groups of all-time. However two years into the post-Joe Burrow period, that season is beginning to appear like an outlier, not the disappointing 5-5 follow-up. UCLA ran throughout LSU in a dominant 38-27 win on the Rose Bowl, outgaining LSU 454-378. LSU’s offensive line struggled to guard in opposition to a Pac-12 defensive entrance, mustering simply 1.9 yards per carry and consistently permitting strain. It is nice to know that LSU is usually a championship group … if it lucks right into a Heisman Trophy quarterback and No. 1 NFL Draft choose who will get play calls from a savant offensive thoughts like Joe Brady.   

Clemson is not playoff-caliber: We will have conversations about whether or not Clemson’s schedule is nice sufficient for the Tigers to play their approach again into the playoff dialog. That will likely be powerful sufficient by itself contemplating the Tigers may legitimately not play one other ranked opponent till ACC Championship Sport. However greater than that, this Clemson group doesn’t appear like a nationwide title contender. Their offensive line was totally outclassed by Georgia, and the offense simply does not look full with out a versatile operating again like Travis Etienne to take strain off the road and quarterback. Possibly a player can turn into that function, however getting held to the worst scoring output of the Dabo Swinney period is a foul place to start out. | School soccer winners, losers, overreactions for Week 1: Alabama stays king, Clemson not playoff-caliber


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