Every Sunday I will take some time to recap the week of college football. We will take a look at some of the biggest games and story lines surrounding the sport. We had an eventful first week and we still have two games left to be played.
Alabama is Still King: Mac Jones, DeVonta Smith, Jaylen Waddle, and Najee Harris all departed for the NFL so it is safe to assume Alabama might take a few games to get in a groove, right? This could not be more wrong. Alabama started the season the same way they ended last season. The Crimson Tide look to be a complete team as they dominated Miami on Saturday afternoon. Bryce Young looked comfortable in the pocked throwing for 344 yards and four touchdown passes in his debut. Ohio State transfer, Jameson Williams, led the team with 126 yards and a touchdown. The Alabama defense suffocated Miami and did not allow D’Eriq King and the offense to gain momentum.
Georgia Has a Stud Defense, But: The offense was lackluster and J.T. Daniels was unable to push the ball down field. Georgia’s only offensive points came via field goal. The Bulldogs are missing two of their best offensive weapons in George Pickens and Arik Gilbert and they are unsure if either will return this season. Georgia currently has no ranked teams left on their schedule and should be in line to run the table. The Bulldogs found their most success in the running game with Zamir White and they will continue to rely on him this season. The Bulldog defense proved to be one of the best in the country forcing seven sacks and allowing only two rushing yards to Clemson.
Clemson Must Regroup: As mentioned earlier, Clemson’s offensive line allowed seven sacks and the running game never got going. Clemson’s defense did a good job containing Georgia’s offense but the offense looked inept. D.J. Uiagalelei looked flustered and on the off chance he did have time to throw, he was commonly missing his receivers or throwing into tight coverage. Clemson’s defense did a good job preventing Georgia from scoring but the defensive line only recorded one sack on the night. Clemson is more talented than every team left on their schedule and should run the table. If they finish 12-1, the results should be enough to make the playoffs but the schedule lacks quality opponents. Next week the Tigers face South Carolina State which will allow Clemson a tune up game.
There may be cause for concern in Norman: Spencer Rattler’s second pass of the day was intercepted when it was thrown into coverage. While Rattler did end up throwing for over 300 yards, it was far from his best day. Oklahoma’s defense appears to have regressed after Tulane was moving the ball with ease all day. Tulane’s quarterback, Michael Pratt, came up a half yard short on 4th down or I truly believe Tulane would have pulled out the victory. The Oklahoma defense line was able to get pressure throughout the afternoon finishing with four sacks and nine tackles for loss. The Sooners should cruise through the rest of September before they face another true test. Oklahoma will need these games to help improve and become more consistent before the toughest games on their schedule.
Iowa, Penn State are Big Ten Contenders: Iowa and Penn State came out of the weekend as big winners. Penn State looked pedestrian in the first half against Wisconsin but the second half played as one of the best teams in the Big Ten. Penn State was able to expose Wisconsin’s secondary pushing the ball down field to Jahan Dotson and Parker Washington. The Nittany Lions had a formidable pass rush and the secondary played up to expectations. Jaquan Brisker struggled with a nagging injury throughout the game but intercepted Graham Mertz in the biggest play of the game.
Iowa did not need much offense to beat Indiana as they intercepted Michael Penix Jr three times and returned two of them for touchdowns. Iowa also held the Hoosiers to only 233 total yards. Iowa will be a traditional ground and pound team as Tyler Goodson and Ivory Kelly-Martin combined for 143 yards on the ground. Spencer Petras did enough to put the Hawkeyes in position to win and he limited his mistakes. Next week’s rivalry game against Iowa State will be another test for the Hawkeyes. With Wisconsin, Minnesota, and Northwestern losing, the country now sees Iowa is the clear favorite to win the Big Ten West.
Oregon Survives, Thibodeaux Leaves Early: Oregon was a 19 point favorite over Fresno State but you would not have known that by watching the game. Fresno State took a 24-21 lead in the 4th quarter and appeared to be on the verge of an upset. Anthony Brown was able to lead Oregon to 10 straight points which secured the victory for Oregon. Brown struggled to find consistency in the air but he did have success on the ground finishing with 56 yards rushing and a touchdown. Fresno State’s quarterback, Jake Haener, threw for 298 yards against the Oregon defense. Kayvon Thibodeaux left the game with a lower leg injury and returned to the sidelines in street clothes. The Ducks travel to Columbus to face Ohio State next week and will need Thibodeaux in order to have a chance.
It is Time to Consider UCLA a Pac-12 Favorite: UCLA has played two games so far this season and has been impressive each time. They started the season with a shutout victory over Hawaii and then last night topped LSU by a score of 38-27. UCLA looks to be a run focused team with Brittain Brown and Zach Charbonnet. So far this season, Charbonnet has 17 attempts for 223 yards and four touchdowns. Dorian Thompson-Robinson only completed nine passes yesterday, but he finished with 260 passing yards and three touchdowns. The Bruins are proving to be a dangerous team under Chip Kelly and are ready to challenge for a Pac-12 Title. Key games against Arizona State and USC loom which will give us a true indicator of where UCLA stands in the Pac-12.
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