It’s just week one. We tend to jump to conclusions very quickly, leading to a bunch of knee jerk reactions. We have to remember that it is just the first week of action and unlike the old system of the BCS, early losses don’t make or break a season in the College Football Playoff Committee’s eyes. It’s the whole body of work, with some scheduling help in the type of opponent you’ve played. It worked for Ohio State in 2014. So certain teams that lost this weekend and their fans shouldn’t be quick to panic. Teams that showed no weakness shouldn’t get too comfortable, an injury here or a bad break there can flip the season around.
Let’s look at a few examples. Houston over Oklahoma may have been an upset if you look at where each team was ranked based off the preseason rankings. However, if you saw what the Cougars did to Florida State in the Peach Bowl last January, you knew that they built a good program put together by head coach Tom Herman. They were bringing back a lot of their starters including quarterback Greg Ward, Jr, a young but experienced dual-threat athlete who proved himself a year ago.
All the hype about Baker Mayfield and his Heisman candidacy may have made the Sooners over look Houston or at least take them for granted. The Cougars played well. They did what they needed to do, especially on defense and they got a few bounces to go their way. No one would expect for them to score a touchdown on a missed field goal attempt, a “kick-six.” That was a bounce that went the Cougars way.
Both teams have a lot of pressure on them for different reasons. Oklahoma has already been granted one slip up. Considering they play in a power five conference that isn’t one of the deepest or strongest, they will have to dominate the conference. In a few weeks they have a meeting with Ohio State, who showed no sign of weakness against Bowling Green in a 77-10 rout, the Sooners have no room for mistakes. The Cougars have a different kind of pressure that they have to face because they are a non-power five conference and by committee standards, have a weak schedule. So if the Cougars slip up anywhere during the season, they will have no chance of getting in the playoffs.
I’m sure I wasn’t alone in thinking that USC was going to give Alabama much more of a fight Saturday night. So that begs the question, is Alabama that good and stronger than predicted or is USC simply overrated?
These are the questions that will be circulating for the next few days. USC fans will probably want to forget the week entirely. Alabama fans are going to think that the Tide are invincible. Guess what? That feeling of invincibility only lasts for so long. There has been one team that has tripped up the Tide the last two years and they are the “Land Shark Defense” of Ole Miss, who Alabama has to face down in Oxford in two weeks. Considering they just let one slip away last night against the Seminoles, that defense will be looking to smell blood.
A loss to Florida State hurts the Ole Miss Rebels in the polls, but it’s not the loss per say, but how they lost that may hurt more psychologically. Can they bounce back from this? They will have to. They have a cupcake game against Wofford next week and the showdown against Alabama the week after that. The good thing about being a kid is that you’re resilient, but the bad thing about being a veteran is that you put a lot of pressure on yourself because it may be you last go round. Ole Miss quarterback Chad Kelly got the attention and the pressure, now he must channel it to get the Rebels season back on the winning track.
Freshman quarterbacks sitting seems to be a thing of the past for some schools. Four freshman signal callers helped lead their team to a victory this weekend. Jason Eason of Georgia, went 8-12 for 131 yards and a touchdown. Shane Buschele of Texas went 16-26 for 280 yards and two touchdowns, and one n the ground. Jalen Hurts of Alabama, who didn’t start, but ignited offensive fire that was missing from Blake Barnett. But non more prevalent than Deondre Francois of Florida State, who sparked the comeback against Ole Miss when he showed his toughness to his teammates when he threw a strike to Travis Rudolph while getting hit square in the ribs for a 16-yard touchdown to close the first half. Francois finished the game with 419 yards and a touchdown and 59 more yards on the ground. He wasn’t afraid of the prime time spot with everyone watching like the Florida State freshman before him (Jameis Winston).