Week 1 of the college football season technically started a week ago, but Saturday is the first full game day in the nation. With regional rivalries producing some of the best results over the weekend, the full-scale debut marked a refreshing change from a long offseason filled with off-court headlines.
Old Dominion stuns Virginia Tech 20-17 in Friday night’s Brent Pry debut . Then, in what was billed as the biggest home game in history on Saturday, Appalachian State gave North Carolina everything it could handle before 63 -61 failed 2-point conversion. UTSA’s 2-point conversion also fell in three overtime in a 37-35 loss to No. 24 Houston in front of a crowded house, just before Cougars coach Dana Holgorsen Days after accusing the Roadrunners of injecting crowd noise into the Alamo Dome. In the end, East Carolina missed an extra point and a field goal lost a 21-20 heartbreak No. 13 North Carolina.
Of course, there are still a lot of large national operations to be done. No. 2 Ohio State defeated No. 5 Notre Dame 21-10 in the heavyweight bout. Florida beat No. 7 Utah 29-26 after quarterback Anthony Richardson’s final touchdown. No. 3 Georgia State tied No. 11 Oregon State 49-3 in Atlanta.
College football’s surge and deadly trough were on full display during opening weekend, with the country’s worst regional competition taking center stage. Week 1 was the perfect palate cleanser after yet another offseason reshuffle and postseason headlines.
Here are the winners, losers and overreactions of the first week of the college football season.
GEORGIA: Rumors of Georgia’s demise appear to be greatly exaggerated. Despite losing a whopping 15 players in the NFL draft, the Bulldogs didn’t miss a single step in dispatching Oregon. Georgia became the second team in college football history to score a touchdown in its first seven games against an Associated Press top 25 team. Quarterback Stetson Bennett IV had a career-best 368 passing yards while 15 different guards had multiple tackles. Bulldogs War Machine is still fully operational.
Arizona wide receiver Jacob Coyne may have been the country’s best player last year After posting a 1,354-yard reception and qualifying for bowling with a dying UTEP program, Coyne seems poised to do the same for the Wildcats a year later. The Maricopa, Arizona, native threw eight passes and three touchdowns for 152 yards in his first game as the Wildcats in a 38-20 win over San Diego State. It was Arizona’s first road win over Colorado since October 5, 2019.
Florida coach Billy Napier: There’s not much better way to do it Start coaching instead of winning against top 10 opponents. The Gators hit all the right notes on their way to a win over No. 7 Utah State thanks to a strong rushing performance from quarterback Anthony Richardson. Suddenly, Florida State in the SEC East doesn’t look like an afterthought. The Oct. 29 game against Georgia should be circled. Napier became the first coach in Gators history to beat a ranked opponent in his first game using the program.
NC State QB Devin Leary: Expectations are high for Leary, as the Wolves enter their highest preseason ranking since 1975, when Lou Holtz led the program. However, Leary’s effort against East Carolina worries me that the new offensive player room won’t easily fit into Raleigh. Leary completed half of his 33 passes for 211 yards and 6.4 yards per pass attempt. He threw a poor interception, which the ECU later converted to a touchdown, which would have tied the game if it weren’t for the missed bonus point. If the Wolfpack is going to be a true ACC contender, Leary must better complement the seasoned defense.
Texas A&M’s offensive line: Aggies end up in growing pains on offense season, but hopefully this team finds its best in 2022 and is part of a team with playoff dreams. However, despite a 31-0 win over Sam Houston, the Aggies’ offense was only 3.4 yards per carry and was under pressure a few times. With Appalachia and No. 16 Miami coming to town in the next few weeks, our efforts have to get better.
Overreaction Week 1
Ohio State University The offense is cracked: Going into Week 1, there are three teams with great expectations for winning the national championship: Alabama, Georgia and Ohio State. The aforementioned Bulldogs had one of the most impressive victories over ranked opponents in recent memory, and Alabama played a perfect football game against Utah.
Then there’s Ohio State, which needs a few miraculous games from quarterback CJ Stroud to create any offense against Notre Dame. Granted, the Buckeyes had their toughest matchup of the weekend, but after injury starring perimeter Jaxon Smith-Njigba, they looked pretty mortal. Notre Dame’s defense dictated most of the game.
Ohio State has a chance to grow from these struggles, especially as Jim Knowles’ defense becomes more comfortable. So far, however, any notion that Ohio State is the perfect title contender for Alabama or Georgia seems like wishful thinking.
Pac-12 cooked: Last season, UCLA picked up a huge Helmets – Victory over LSU in the Rose Bowl. The Tigers ended up being bad, but that’s okay. After beating LSU, the Bruins ranked 13th in the national rankings and helped build credibility for the entire Pac-12.
A year later, Cameron Rising’s ill-advised interception in a loss to Florida was ready to do the exact opposite. The Utes top the Pac-12 preseason polls and are considered the league’s favorite team to make the college football playoffs. However, after another loss to the Gators in the playoffs, a leading Pac-12 team trailed by eight goals. One win or one loss doesn’t mean a season, but the benefits of doubt simply don’t exist in “championships.”
That loss, combined with the Ducks’ embarrassment in Atlanta, makes No. 14 USC the only unblemished Pac-12 playoff contender. Good luck.
Competition is still king: There is no better setting for Ohio than Week 1 Backyard brawl on river bank emerges from ashes after 11-year absence. In every way, No. 17 Pete’s go-ahead win at West Virginia is the perfect table for college football’s 2022 debut.
Over 70,000 people watched the game at Acrisure Stadium – still Heinz Field in our hearts – the biggest crowd in Pittsburgh’s sporting history…it’s quite a sporting city. Legendary players like Pitt’s Tony Dorset and West Virginia’s Adam “Pac-Man” Jones grace the sidelines. When city and country rivals come together just 75 miles apart, the beer in the due stadium is exhausted.
On top of that, the game ended in the weirdest way possible, with Pitt’s MJ Devonshire grabbing a bouncing ball from West Virginia’s Bryce Ford-Whitton, And returned the ball 56 yards. Select six . This moment is gratifying for the victors and terrifying for the losers.