Winner: No. 1 Alabama
The Death Star appears to have not missed a beat. New quarterback Bryce Young was 27-38 for 344 yards and 4 touchdowns, and the Crimson Tide had 501 yards on 77 plays in a 44-13 destruction of No. 14 Miami that wasn’t as close as the score indicates. RTR forced three turnovers and bottled up one of the preseason favored quarterbacks in America in D’Eriq King, who was sacked four times.
Despite having to replace about half of the offense from last season, Bama did not miss a beat. Same as it ever was.
Loser: No. 20 Washington
The good news for the Huskies is this game was on Pac-12 Network, which means most of America couldn’t see it anyway. But the final score will still make recaps such as this: Montana 13, Washington 7. Wow.
UW was one of the chic picks amongst the college football cognoscenti to be in the mix for a conference championship. Perhaps even a run to the College Football Playoff. But the Huskies 4th quarter box score reads like it was directed by John Carpenter: Outscored 10-0, three carries for -6 yards, 4-12 passing for 44 yards and an interception. An absolute meltdown. Jimmy Lake and quarterback Dylan Morris, welcome to the hot seat.
Winner: Big Sky Conference
UC-Davis 19-17 over Tulsa, Eastern Washington 35-33 over UNLV, Montana 13-7 over No. 20 Washington. That’s a heckuva weekend for the FCS league, who stopped two trendy teams to win a league title in Washington and Tulsa.
Loser: No. 17 Indiana
The darlings of last season were one of the most polarizing teams amongst prognosticators. The people looking at fundamentals and talent returning were out on the Hoosiers, calling them lucky last year and flawed this season. Those who believed in the magic of “LEO” and what Tom Allen has built in Bloomington said the sum was greater than the parts.
Score one for math. 3.6 yards per play, three turnovers, and a garish day for senior quarterback Michael Penix Jr. in a 34-6 loss at No. 18 Iowa. It’s certainly not over for the Hoosiers this season, but it’s a tough loss to take for a team that was a bounce or two from the Big Ten title game last season.
Winner: No. 21 Texas
A fundamentally sound team playing smart, efficient football. They were likely living it up on Sixth Street last night, because Steve Sarkisian appears to have harnessed all the potential of the Longhorns. Finally.
Some casual fans might point to Louisiana-Lafayette as an also ran, but Levi Lewis and the No. 23 Ragin’ Cajuns were one of the toughest outs in the country last season, and they brought back a ton of talent. This 38-18 win is absolutely a quality one that should stand up nicely by season’s end. Lewis still had a nice game (28-40, 282 yards, 1 TD), but Hudson Card and Casey Thompson combining to throw for 265 yards and three touchdowns is a great sign.
The lack of talent with Charlie Strong, and the chaos of Tom Herman, just might be behind them.
Loser: No. 836 (approximate) Temple
It’s Year 3 for Rod Carey, and this team is simply abysmal. 4.1 yards per play and five turnovers against Rutgers in a 61-14 loss at Rutgers. Outscored 21-0 in the fourth quarter when theoretically you’re still playing your starters, and the other team is getting various dorm RA’s some burn. Quarterback D’Wan Mathis was 8-24 for 148 yards and an INT. And they’re just awful to watch.
Temple is always a tough place to win, which makes what Matt Rhule and Geoff Collins did there so impressive. But this is probably the worst team in a conference in the country. And with another round of realignment coming, do the Owls end up without a seat at the table, and with UConn and UMass as the foster children of the I-95 corridor?
Winner: No. 5 Georgia
They still got offense problems, and they still gotta play Bama eventually to get where they want to go, but the Bulldogs defense last night was simply breathtaking.
In beating No. 3 Clemson 10-3, they simply swallowed quarterback DJ Uiagalelei whole, and Clemson had 23 carries for two (TWO!!) yards. That’s not a typo, and yes sack yardage counts against quarterbacks in college, but c’mon. TWO!
UGA was multiple, powerful, lightning fast at all three levels, and disguised their coverage like an elite NFL team. It was a clinic, and something that should terrify the rest of the SEC.
If they at 75% of that level the rest of the SEC season, they’ll walk to Atlanta for another SEC title game.