It was a fairly ho-hum opening week in college football as several top teams scraped by with less-than-impressive performances. Chief among these was #1 Ohio State’s 42-24 victory over Virginia Tech, which some will view as a success for the Buckeyes due to their offensive output in the second half. However, the fact of the matter is Ohio State was stuck in a 21-17 dogfight against a middling foe before Virginia Tech starting QB Michael Brewer broke his collarbone early in the third quarter. VT barely managed any offense the rest of the way, and the margin ballooned. Unfortunately, this is likely to be the only time Ohio State is “tested” all season, as their Big Ten slate is a plethora of patsies to go with one game against a viable opponent (Michigan State), which is in Columbus. Hopefully the media narrative will reflect how feeble their opposition is as the season moves along, but I doubt it.
Number 2 did not fare much better. Texas Christian did not look like the overwhelming force we saw last season in their 23-17 triumph over Minnesota. The paltry (for them) 23-point output was not a reflection of Heisman hopeful quarterback Trevone Boykin, who posted a 26-42 line for 246 yards passing and an additional 18 carries for 92 yards. Fortunately for the Horned Frogs, their schedule is as laughable as Ohio State’s until their end-of-season dates with Oklahoma and Baylor, so there is a lot of time to figure things out.
More impressive than the so-called top two were a pair of Yellowhammer State SEC juggernauts in #3 Alabama and #6 Auburn. Alabama’s 35-17 demolition of Big Ten runner-up #20 Wisconsin was reflective of their style of play. The Badgers are typically known for their big bodies on the inside, but were thoroughly dominated by the Crimson Tide on the line of scrimmage. Bama QBs Jake Coker and Cooper Bateman looked serviceable, and running back Derrick Henry dominated every time he touched the ball, rushing for 147 yards on only 13 carries. The Tide’s in-state rivals at Jordan-Hare, Auburn, looked equally impressive in racing out to an insurmountable 24-0 lead against resurgent Louisville before taking the foot off the pedal late in the fourth quarter to the chagrin of their spread backers. These two look to have staying power, however, they play significant tougher schedules than the cupcake-laden slates of Ohio State and TCU, so it will be a tough potential route to the playoffs.
Elsewhere in the top ten, #4 Baylor struggled early before coming alive, #5 Michigan State slogged to an underwhelming road victory, and #8 USC/#9 Georgia looked typically dominant against weak opposition. Hopefully week 2 provides us with a few more fireworks than week 1 did.
305 Utah State +13.5 (Coast)
313 Army +8 (Cantor)
333 Wake Forest +4.5 (Coast)
345 Oregon State +15.5 (Westgate)
399 Central Florida +19 (Westgate)
Will add bonus board low-limit games on twitter as they become widely available.