After a long and grueling spring and summer without any of America’s game, football is finally BACK in our lives in a big way after week one of the college football season.
While there weren’t any major upsets this weekend (that was a close one, Penn State), nevertheless, there were plenty of storylines, talking points, standout moments, and of course, winners and losers.
So with that in mind, we decided to look beyond the scoreline and identify the biggest winners and losers (Hey, Harbaugh) from the first weekend of what’s shaping up to be an excellent college football season.
#1. Will Grier
One of the favorites for the Heisman Trophy this year, Will Grier looked every bit the part against (a rebuilding) Tennesse squad.
While starting the game off slowly, Grier threw for FOUR touchdowns in the second half, finishing the day with 429 yards passing and 5 touchdowns. Not too shabby if I do say so myself.
West Virginia may not be a threat for the national title, but they’re going to have one of the highest scoring offenses in the country this season and Will Grier will be a major reason why.
#2. Brian Kelly
This is undoubtedly a make-or-break year for Brian Kelly at Notre Dame (he’s been there since 2010! 8 years already?! holy shit where does the time go?) and an opening night win over Jim Harbaugh’s Michigan certainly helps.
While Notre Dame was essentially shut down by the Wolverines elite defense in the second half (scoring just 3 points), the squad as a whole looked as balanced and strong as they have in years, including last year’s 10-3 season.
Does this one really need an explanation?
#1. Penn State
On the 11-year anniversary of their legendary upset of the University of Michigan, Appalachian State almost pulled another fast one in Happy Valley this weekend, taking the Penn State Nittany Lions to overtime.
While Penn State was able to walk away victorious, nearly losing to a Sun Belt school at home will do them absolutely NO favors in the eyes of the playoff committee should they lose another game this season.
There was no bigger loser this weekend than Jim Harbaugh and the University of Michigan Wolverines.
After a 24-17 loss to #12 Notre Dame, Michigan is now 9-9 in its last 18 games under Jim Harbaugh after starting 19-3.
Furthermore, they have now lost 17 straight road games against AP-ranked opponents. While not all of those losses came under Harbaugh, he hasn’t done anything to buck the trend, either.
#3. Anybody not named Alabama
Yes, its only been one weekend, but stop me if you’ve heard this one before: the University of Alabama Crimson Tide are the clear favorites to win the championship this year.
As defensively stout and physically dominant as they’ve ever been, Bama’s offense has a whole new dimension thanks to the addition of quarterback Tua Tagovailoa into the starting lineup.
Sure, Clemson, Ohio State, Georgia, Wisconsin and a couple of other usual suspects will be in the conversation this year, but once again, it’s Bama’s title to lose.