Ranking college football teams early in the season is always a crapshoot. This season is no different, and we are headed for a shake-up of the rankings after an entertaining Week 1.
Losses by No. 25 Oregon State, No. 20 TCU and No. 19 Boise State will likely send those teams out of the Top 25, which means teams will be taking their spots.
I've figured out which teams will make the jump into the Top 25.
Have a look at the rankings on ESPN, and then check out the three teams I have pegged for making their debut in the rankings this week.
Check out the latest rankings at ESPN.
Few teams in the nation made as loud of a statement in their opener as the Washington Huskies. Opening up their newly remodeled stadium, the Huskies dismantled No. 19 Boise State, 38-6.
At the heart of all the success was quarterback Keith Price. This is great news for the Huskies.
Price entered last season with legitimate Heisman hopes. However, his numbers dipped from his outstanding sophomore season. Last season, Price posted a quarterback rating of 122.4. This was well below the 161.9 rating he posted the season before.
On Saturday, he was outstanding. Well, after his first pass. He was picked off the first time he let the ball fly. For the rest of the game he went 23-of-30 with 324 yards and two touchdowns.
While Price was the biggest bright spot, he certainly wasn't a one-man show. The Huskies, behind 161 yards from Bishop Sankey, gained 268 yards rushing at five yards per carry.
Combine that with a defense that held Boise State to one field goal per half, and the Huskies handed Boise State its worst loss under Chris Petersen.
Washington will undoubtedly be rewarded with a spot in the Top 25.
While the Huskies enjoyed opening their redone stadium, Baylor celebrated the last home opener at Floyd Casey Stadium, and it did so in style.
Baylor was scoring like its basketball team in this one as it steamrolled its way to a 69-3 victory over lower-division Wofford.
Sure, it is dangerous to read too much into a big win over an obviously inferior team, but it's clear the Bears' offense is going to be a lot to handle.
Lache Seastrunk stomped his way to 111 rushing yards and two touchdowns. Meanwhile, junior quarterback Bryce Petty made sure the defense couldn't key in on Seastrunk and threw for 312 yards and two touchdowns.
What was also impressive was that Baylor's defense held Wofford to 2.9 yards per carry, and Wofford was an excellent rushing team last season.
Look for Baylor to make the leap into the polls after this one.
Miami is another team that beat up on a lesser opponent but was still impressive enough to make a jump into the Top 25.
It didn't start out that way for the Hurricanes. Miami got off to a sloppy start. Nowhere was that more apparent than when the Hurricanes were flagged for delay of game before ever getting a play off from scrimmage.
Miami wound up only putting three points on the board for the first quarter. However, that sloppiness faded in a flash, and the Hurricanes put a hurting on Florida Atlantic.
They put up 31 over the next two quarters en route to a 34-6 victory.
Most of this damage was done on the ground. Miami rushed for 303 yards at eight yards per carry.
The Hurricanes will still have to prove themselves, but enough eyes were already on them that this win will push them into the rankings.
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The first week of the college football season is in the books, so here's a projection of what the Top 25 will look like when the polls come out Tuesday.
There were classic games and a few upsets in Week 1, so there will be some movement in the polls.
Despite big wins in the first week, it'll be tough for some teams to make big jumps, because the top of the poll looked strong. There wasn't much clarification as to which top teams will be the last ones standing, but this has the makings of a great college football season.
Here is an updated projection of the Week 2 Associated Press poll, with last week's rankings courtesy of ESPN.com.
1. Alabama Crimson Tide (1-0)
Alabama looked ready to win a third consecutive title. It jumped out to a 28-10 halftime lead over Virginia Tech and coasted in the second half.
The offense didn't look great, but it didn't need to. Christion Jones got the team on the board when he returned a punt for a touchdown, and the team never looked back. He would later add a kickoff return and a receiving touchdown, making him arguably the top player of Week 1.
Although the Hokies outgained the Crimson Tide on offense 212-206, Virginia Tech had a tough time moving the football. If you take out a 77-yard touchdown run in the first quarter, the team had only 135 yards of offense.
Alabama had only two offensive touchdowns, but this was a total team effort. The Crimson Tide will stay No. 1 until someone knocks them off.
2. Ohio State Buckeyes (1-0)
Coach Urban Meyer is now 13-0 at Ohio State, and his team had an interesting day against Buffalo.
The Buckeyes were dominant in the first quarter. They went up and down the field at will, and quarterback Braxton Miller was able to make plays with his arm. After each of the first two touchdowns, Meyer elected to go for two. He was successful, and the Buckeyes jumped out to a 23-0 lead in the opening quarter.
Fans should be encouraged by Miller's performance. He still has room to grow, but he looked much better than last season.
Buffalo outscored Ohio State 20-17 the rest of the game, but the outcome was never in doubt. Voters may look at this game and penalize the Buckeyes for not winning by more.
The Buckeyes coasted after the first quarter. Playing that way could cost them against tougher competition, but they did enough to stay at No. 2.
3. Oregon Ducks (1-0)
Chip Kelly is now in the NFL, but the Ducks flew down the field. They set a school record for most yards in a game with 772 against Nicholls State. They had 500 rushing yards, and three different players recorded over 100 yards on the ground.
Oregon looked great in Mark Helfrich's debut. It was up 24-0 with five minutes left in the first quarter, and it kept adding to the lead the entire game. The final score of 66-3 was impressive, but the opposition wasn't supposed to put up much of a challenge.
Quarterback Marcus Mariota and running back De'Anthony Thomas put themselves near the top of the Heisman watch. Mariota had nearly 350 yards of total offense and three touchdowns.
The Ducks looked great in Week 1. They could jump Ohio State, but this type of game shouldn't be enough to move up in the polls.
4. Stanford Cardinal (0-0)
Stanford was off in the opening week, so no movement here. A home game against San Jose State on Saturday will be the first time the team will take the field and show the nation what it can do.
5. South Carolina Gamecocks (1-0)
Like Ohio State, South Carolina had a huge first quarter but didn't put up many points the rest of the game. A 17-0 lead in the first quarter was enough for the team to pull back the rest of the way against North Carolina.
Connor Shaw completed only 11 of his 20 passes for 149 yards and a touchdown. Sophomore Mike Davis ran for 115 yards and a score on only 12 carries.
It was a good test on the first day of the college football season, but now the Gamecocks have to travel to Athens, Ga., to take on the Bulldogs. A win in that game should move South Carolina higher in the polls.
6. Texas A&M Aggies (1-0)
The first half didn't go the way Aggies fans had hoped, but that may have been a good thing. Rice had a 14-7 lead after the first quarter before Texas A&M scored 21 straight points and held a 28-21 lead at the half.
With Rice still being competitive, Johnny Manziel had a chance to play in meaningful action in the second half. He looked great in his first game since winning the Heisman.
It was clear the Aggies need Manziel if they are going to contend in the SEC. He helped the team blow out Rice, and the voters should evaluate the team based on how it played when he was in the game.
7. Clemson Tigers (1-0)
The Tigers had the biggest win of the week. This may be a little bit of a low projection, as the Tigers were ranked eighth last week, but the teams ahead of the Tigers looked great.
Clemson upset Georgia to start the season and looks like the team to beat in the ACC. The Tigers won 38-35 thanks to Tajh Boyd's five touchdowns.
The Tigers were the team of the week, but don't expect too much of a jump in the polls.
8. Louisville Cardinals (1-0)
Teddy Bridgewater was fantastic against Ohio. He completed 23 of 28 passes for 355 yards and five touchdowns, and he looks like one of the top contenders for the Heisman.
This could have been a trap game for the Cardinals after a huge win over Florida in the Sugar Bowl last season, but they came out and made a statement. With their schedule, this could be a sign of things to come.
9. Florida Gators (1-0)
The Gators had a nice balance on offense as they topped Toledo 24-6. The defense held the Rockets to 205 yards as the team cruised to an easy victory.
10. LSU Tigers (1-0)
LSU had its hands full with TCU, but it was able to come away with a victory at a neutral site.
The Tigers were up 30-17 at the end of the third quarter before letting the Horned Frogs get back in the game. The score got to 30-27 before the Tigers put the game away. The 10-point victory was impressive and should be enough to move the Tigers up in the polls.
11. Georgia Bulldogs (0-1)
It will be interesting to see how far the Bulldogs fall after their loss to Clemson on the road in a tight game.
The game could have gone either way, but the Bulldogs couldn't overcome a high snap on a field-goal attempt in the second half.
This loss doesn't eliminate the Bulldogs from contention, but they will have to run the table the rest of the way if they want to get to Pasadena. For now, Georgia will have to work its way back up in the polls. It will host South Carolina this week.
12. Florida State Seminoles (1-0)
The Seminoles took care of business Monday night, and freshman quarterback Jameis Winston shined in his first start. He completed 17 of 18 passes for 240 yards and three touchdowns in the first half. He also had a rushing touchdown in the first half. After the break, he came out and connected on his first two passes, which spanned 51 yards and helped lead Florida State to another score. It was a great start to his career against an ACC opponent.
13. Oklahoma State Cowboys (1-0)
The Cowboys fell behind Mississippi State 3-0 but scored touchdowns in each of the next three quarters to win 21-3. It wasn't a cakewalk, but this game could benefit the Cowboys as the season moves on.
14. Notre Dame Fighting Irish (1-0)
Losing in last season's title game is in the past, and Notre Dame had to find a way to rebound. Senior Tommy Rees completed 16 of his 23 passes for 346 yards and three touchdowns to show that he is capable of leading the team. A 28-6 victory over Temple is a good start, but it won't be enough for the Fighting Irish to make a big jump.
15. Texas Longhorns (1-0)
The score was 0-0 after one quarter, but Texas ended up blowing out New Mexico State. David Ash did everything. He threw for 343 yards and four touchdowns, and he added 91 yards and a score on eight carries.
The Longhorns need Ash to put up big numbers like that all season, but he can't throw two interceptions every game. It was a good start for Texas.
16. Oklahoma Sooners (1-0)
The Sooners were also in a scoreless game after one quarter, but they pulled away from Louisiana-Monroe in the middle of the game.
The 34-0 final score shows how dominant the defense was. The Warhawks were held to only 166 yards of total offense. The passing game needs to improve, but the Sooners looked good on the ground with 305 rushing yards.
It will take at least one more weeks for the Sooners to jump their rivals.
17. Michigan Wolverines (1-0)
In their first game without Denard Robinson, the Wolverines put up some points. They beat Central Michigan 59-9 and didn't let up until the final quarter. Michigan had a 35-6 halftime lead but added 21 points in the third to show just how explosive the team can be.
18. UCLA Bruins (1-0)
UCLA had a 17-13 lead at the half, but a strong second half gave the Bruins an easy win. They scored at least 20 points in each quarter in the second half and put Nevada away. The Bruins will benefit from poor performances by a couple of teams ahead of them, and they will jump up a few spots.
19. Northwestern Wildcats (1-0)
Northwestern didn't look great in the opener, but they went on the road to Cal and came away with a victory. The Wildcats won 44-30 in a tough game, and the voters will respond by moving Northwestern up a few spots.
20. Wisconsin Badgers (1-0)
Wisconsin, like Michigan, was looking to replace a big-time playmaker. Montee Ball is gone, but the Badgers ran for 393 yards against Massachusetts. Three players had at least 100 rushing yards, and Melvin Gordon and James White each topped 140 yards.
Those numbers overshadowed a defense that didn't allow a point and allowed just over 200 total yards.
It was a good outing by the entire team, and the Badgers will jump a few spots.
21. Nebraska Cornhuskers (1-0)
Nebraska had a tough time putting Wyoming away and had to hold on for a 37-34 victory.
The Cornhuskers ran for 375 yards, and two guys had at least 100 rushing yards. Unfortunately for them, they allowed 383 passing yards and let Shaun Wick rush for 101 yards. The defense is going to have to get better, so look for Nebraska to fall in this week's poll.
22. TCU Horned Frogs (1-0)
TCU shouldn't fall too far after losing to LSU. It kept the game close against a strong opponent but was unable to come out on top. The Horned Frogs will have a couple of weeks to prepare for their next big game.
The loss will move TCU down a few spots, but it shouldn't be a big drop.
23. USC Trojans (1-0)
The Trojans looked sluggish to start the game and trailed 5-3 with under five minutes remaining in the first half. They exploded for 17 points in just over four minutes to take control of the game on the way to scoring 27 straight points.
USC had a disappointing season last year, but a big win to start the season should give the team confidence. Next week will be its first conference game.
24. Michigan State Spartans (1-0)
With Boise State and Oregon State dropping out of the rankings, two spots open up in the polls. The first spot will go to Michigan State. They will become the sixth team from the Big Ten to be ranked.
A 26-13 victory over Western Michigan doesn't look great, but the defense looks like it will carry the team. The Broncos had only 204 total yards and turned the ball over four times. The Spartans have some work to do on offense, but they will enter the polls this week.
25. Baylor Bears (1-0)
Baylor and Miami (FL) both had impressive opening victories, but the Bears will get more votes.
A 69-3 blowout of Wofford was a strong start to the season. The Bears gained nearly 700 total yards. Bryce Petty completed 19 of 24 passes for 312 yards and two touchdowns. Junior Lache Seastrunk added 111 yards and two touchdowns on 11 carries.
The Bears looked good against a weak opponent, which should be enough to get them up to No. 25.
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The landscape of college football has drastically changed after just one week of exciting action.
While the focus of the world may be atop the rankings, it is teams quietly sneaking into the bottom of the Top 25 that fans should also pay attention to after big wins.
Breaking into the Top 25 is a big deal, as it can create momentum that parlays into greater leaps for schools.
There were not many surprises inside the Top 25, with most teams playing tune-up games, but surprises will abound near the bottom of the Top 25 after some lesser-publicized action.
Here's a prediction of the Week 2 AP Top 25 poll, highlighted by surprise entrants after strong performances.
For the current AP Top 25 Poll, via ESPN, click here.
Record: 1-0 (0-0 Big 12)
Week 1 Result: Def. Wofford, 69-3
No Robert Griffin III here, but Baylor is set to sneak back into the Top 25 already, as Lache Seastrunk puts the team on his back and possibly himself into Heisman consideration.
Baylor by no means handled stiff competition against Wofford, but the margin of victory certainly is not a typo. A 66-point margin is something to behold and a sign of greater things to come for the Bears.
Seastrunk carried the ball just 11 times in the warm-up contest, but he turned it into 111 yards and two touchdowns.
Baylor has some help sneaking into the Top 25, with fellow Big 12 team and former No. 20 TCU being upended by No. 12 LSU. The Bears also have two more cupcake games in the coming weeks, against Buffalo and Louisiana-Monroe.
It's safe to say that things are looking up for the resurgent program.
Record: 1-0 (0-0 ACC)
Week 1 Result: Def. FIU, 34-6
Duke Johnson is the name to know in college football.
The sophomore running back exploded for the Hurricanes against FIU, racking up a ridiculous 186 yards and a touchdown on 19 carries. The touchdown came on a 53-yard scamper, and he also added a 38-yard reception for good measure.
In reality Miami should have been ranked in the Top 25 to begin the year based on talent alone. The Hurricanes will have a chance to truly prove that they belong next week against the No. 9 Florida Gators.
If Miami wants to pull off the upset and stay ranked, improving on its horrific 4-of-14 third-down-conversion rate against FIU is imperative.
That won't fly against the Gators.
Record: 1-0 (0-0) Pac-12
Week 1 Result: Def. No. 19 Boise State, 38-6
Washington is the definition of a sleeper team. Well, "was" is a better verb after Week 1.
Leaving the week of games, the Huskies are now being talked about as contenders for the Pac-12 title.
There is a reason for that, as Washington downed a ranked opponent in Boise State that had figured to make a run at a title.
Quarterback Keith Price had his way with the defense, throwing for 324 yards and two touchdowns, while star running back Bishop Sankey rushed for 161 yards and two scores of his own.
It's sweet revenge for a Washington team that lost to Boise State back in December when the two sides met in the Maaco Bowl Las Vegas, which saw the Broncos escape with a two-point victory.
Not only did Washington get revenge, but it also blew out the Broncos, likely knocked Boise State out of the rankings and took a spot in the Top 25 for itself.
Not bad for an opener.
Follow B/R's Chris Roling on Twitter for more news and analysis @Chris_Roling.
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After Southern Cal's rather unsatisfying 30-13 win over Hawaii last Thursday, fans of the USC program were left with as many questions as answers regarding who will be the eventual Trojans quarterback.
With neither Cody Kessler nor Max Wittek enthusiastically making a case to grab the starting gig, head coach Lane Kiffin has been left to his own devices in determining the identity of the guy to lead USC in 2013.
It appears that Kiffin has made his decision, according to USC.scout.com (subscription required), but apparently he finds it necessary to keep those who care about such things in the dark until USC plays Washington State on Saturday.
In the meantime, we are left with what we saw against Hawaii in terms of drawing our own conclusions regarding USC's signal-caller.
Here is a look at the progress (or lack thereof) in the Trojans' quarterback battle with one assessment of who should be named the starter.
While the identity of USC's starter has been determined, but not yet revealed, here are some of the things that went into Kiffin's mysterious decision.
With a complete remodeling of their aging football facilities, the Washington Huskies showed that the overhaul didn't end when construction crews vacated Montlake. With the new-look Huskies 38-6 dismantling of No. 19 Boise State on Saturday night, it appears that Steve Sarkisian may finally have the stagnant Huskies headed back towards a once familiar spot in the upper echelon of college football.
Washington showed off a new-look, up tempo offense against the Broncos that gave the Huskies their most impressive win in years. How did they manage to dominate a team that edged them out in last year's MAACO Las Vegas Bowl? For starters, they imposed their will early and often on the Broncos' defense by having a solid game plan in place and executing it to perfection.
The Huskies have their best group of skill-position players in a decade, and head coach Steve Sarkisian built a game plan around his team's strengths. Any coach knows the right way to put the best product on the field is to utilize the talent you have in the proper ways, and Sarkisian did that from the opening kickoff.
No one used his team's talent better than the late, great Bill Walsh. Walsh, known as the father of the "West Coast Offense," is a legend across the football landscape. Along with his idea of a more horizontal passing game that relied heavily on short, quick-timing passes, Walsh developed the idea of scripting a number of plays to start each game in order to set the tone for the entire contest.
The Huskies' fifth year head coach is one of a handful of major college coaches that still open games with a scripted set of plays. As told to Adam Jude of the Seattle Times,"Sark said he plans to continue to script the first 15 plays of the game, though there is flexibility in that, depending on the situation, what is working, what isn’t."
With the unlimited variables that can alter the course of a game, why do coaches bother scripting plays? More importantly, does it really work? There are a number of reasons coaches utilize the practice.
Setting the Tone
With technology and advanced scouting, teams usually have a pretty good idea of how their opponent will attack them come game time. Despite facing a defense that knows what to expect, coaches and offensive coordinators want to set the tone early on in order to make adjustments later in the game.
Saturday's game didn't start out how Sarkisian envisioned it. Huskies' quarterback Keith Price was intercepted on the second play of the game, but Sarkisian didn't flinch. After a short run by running back Bishop Sankey, Sarkisian went right back to Price and threw the ball six of the next eight plays. Aside from a one-yard completion to wide receiver John Ross, Price connected for gains of eight, nine, eight, 12 and 11 yards over the next eight plays.
The point behind a pass-heavy set of scripted plays early on was to instill confidence in Price after a dismal 2012 season. The Huskies know what they have in RB Bishop Sankey and a standout group of pass-catchers. They didn't know what to expect from Price, who has had an up-and-down career.
By connecting on a barrage of short, quick-hitting passes, Boise State had to deal with more than just a strong rushing attack from the Huskies. The Broncos had to adjust to the Huskies' new, up-tempo offense and face an entirely different Keith Price than they faced in the 2012 season.
By sticking to the pass-heavy script, Sarkisian unleashed Price and the quick-hitting passing offense, leaving the Broncos off-balance early in the game. While the Huskies didn't put up a lot of points in the first half, they did rack up a lot of yards and set themselves up for a big second half.
While you can prepare for weeks and envision the execution down to the last detail, preparing for the variables in a football game is futile.
- The first scripted play calls for an easy eight-yard dig route by the tight end, with the idea that you will be left with a 2nd-and-short situation.
- Play two is a quick dive out of a power-I formation with three offset tight ends to the strong side.
If things go according to plan, this idea should work most of the time. But what is the alternative should something like a personal foul penalty disrupt the plan and leave the offense in a 2nd-and-17?
Some coaches will have situation replacements in case of a sack, penalty or lack of execution. Others will stick to the script no matter the outcome in order to set the offense up for later in the game.
- A coach can skip to play three of the script, which calls for a quick slant from the weak side.
- He can call for a new play designed to safely gain eight-12 yards in order to have a manageable third down.
Sticking to the Script
If a coach wants to stick with the plan to run a quick-hitting dive to the strong side, it may be for a couple of reasons.
- Lining up in a power formation with three offset tight ends could catch the defense with the wrong personnel on the field. If there is a cornerback or safety lined up over one of the tight ends, the play might work to perfection based on the mismatch.
- The defense might run a stunt or get enough penetration to disrupt the play in the backfield. It sets the offense up for success later in the game. If the defense sees the same formation again, they could counter with a goal-line package after seeing a smaller defensive back get blown off the ball by a tight end earlier in the game. If that happens, the offense could motion a tight end or run a flood route with a defensive end tasked with covering a faster tight end.
Teams utilize strategies like this every game, and it becomes a chess match between the offensive and defensive coaches.
In the second half, the Huskies unleashed a perfect mix of play calls that left the Broncos guessing all night. After expecting Bishop Sankey to be their biggest problem, Keith Price made them pay with a 324-yard performance through the air. Of course, Sankey still had a tremendous game with a 161 yards on 25 carries.
By scripting the first 15 plays of the game, the Washington coaches set up a variety of weapons to be unleashed later in the game. Keith Price found his 2011 form, and after carving up the Broncos early with a crisp passing attack, the Huskies had the Broncos off-balance.
Sarkisian stuck with the plan, and it paid off in a big way. With a full arsenal of weapons at his disposal in 2013, Sarkisian should have the Huskies primed for a big season ahead.
That is, if things go according to the script.
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Saturday evening was an excellent evening for college football fans. A plethora of intriguing games dominated the airwaves, ranging from No. 5 Georgia's visit with No. 8 Clemson to No. 12 LSU facing off with No. 20 TCU in AT&T Stadium. All important match-ups, each on a national broadcast.
But nothing...NOTHING...compared to the negative attention Texas A&M quarterback Johnny Manziel received throughout the evening and into Sunday morning from pundits and critics across the country.
A Short Timeline, If You Will
Sunday, August 4th—ESPN breaks a story regarding Manziel accepting monetary compensation for a number of autograph signings he performed during the offseason.
Wednesday, August 28th—Texas A&M and the NCAA release a joint statement saying there was no evidence the 20-year-old quarterback ever received money in exchange for autographs, but due to his inadvertent violation regarding the situation, the university agreed to suspend Manziel for the first-half of A&M's season opener against Rice. Conclusion: Issue closed.
Saturday, August 31st—Manziel spends the first-half against Rice on the bench, as promised, having ESPN commentators analyze every move he makes while he bides his time until the second half. He then proceeds to perform well, both send and receive trash talk, and walk away from a 52-31 lead late in the second half. No big deal, right?
Wrong. According to most every ESPN analyst from Mark May to Lou Holtz (and every one in between), Manziel has pierced the sanctity of the game. Call off the season, Johnny Football has ruined the very sport he earned his legendary name from.
A Quick Glance at Their Three-fold Reasoning
1) Following Manziel's debut play of the 2013 season (which ended with him scrambling 12 yards for a first down), the quarterback mouthed back and forth with a Rice defender before scrawling a signature-like motion in the air as he returned to the offensive huddle. The gesture caught the attention of many viewers, with a gif of the moment up online just minutes following the play.
The National Response
Johnny Manziel is mocking his suspension, sending a message to the NCAA and college football fans that he hasn't learned anything from the autograph-gate that enveloped his life the past month.
It's almost as if Johnny Football was just forced to deal with a month's worth of the NCAA, Texas A&M and the national media looking into every detail of his life from the past few months as the autograph scandal took its natural course, and when taunted about it on the football field, he responded in kind. The passion of the game brings out an intensity unlike most in everyday life, and unsurprisingly, the cockiness behind Manziel's personality came out in the gesture.
I refuse to crucify a 20-year-old quarterback for being cocky, especially due to his position and current situation. Not only is he the reigning Heisman Trophy winner, but he's also a starting college QB...part of the job description is a certain level of confidence bordering on arrogance.
2) Manziel flashed a gesture in celebration that resembled someone rubbing dollar bills together between their fingers. Again, it caught national attention as videos, pictures and gifs of the moment popped up all over the internet. Shocker.
The National Response
Manziel is, once again, taunting everyone who tried to bury him under a pile of autograph allegations.
This is a joke, right? It's a celebration, not a symbol to the public that Manziel is the world's greatest con man. Clemson quarterback Tajh Boyd performed the same gesture during the Tigers' victory over Georgia Saturday afternoon. Perhaps if the analysts had been watching the game instead of breaking down Manziel's every motion, they might have caught on sooner.
3) Following Manziel's third touchdown throw of the day, two Rice defenders continued to jaw off at the quarterback as he continued his way to the sideline. After a few words himself, Manziel closed any semblance of an argument by pointing to the scoreboard, which currently read Texas A&M 51 Rice 28. In case anyone missed the 90's, "scoreboard" is the ultimate comeback when you're ahead.
The referees thought differently, flagging Manziel for a 15-yard unsportsmanlike conduct penalty. The flag effectively forced head coach Kevin Sumlin to bench his young star, but not before Manziel lightly bumped past Sumlin on his way to the water coolers.
The National Response
First off, complete and utter disrespect to the game itself. Manziel failed to adhere to the very rules and regulations set in place to prevent such behavior (actually, as the ESPN commentators discuss Manziel's lack of discipline, A&M true freshman Daeshon Hall is ejected for fighting and they barely take notice).
Second, Manziel BUMPED into his head coach as he was yelling at him. The ultimate sign of disrespect—the bump—clearly qualifies Manziel as outside the jurisdiction of even A&M's coaching staff. Everything is out of control in College Station.
The penalty was undeserving, first off. Manziel, while walking back to the sideline, was approached by two defenders from Rice (neither of whom were flagged), who mouthed off at him—WHILE THEY WERE ALREADY DOWN 23 POINTS. If anything, Manziel did everyone a favor by directing the two to the most blatant and simple comeback in the book. For that, I say well done.
As for "the bump," it was almost literally nothing. Manziel, moments after receiving a ridiculous penalty, was walking back to the sideline and Sumlin saw fit to grill him on the flag, as any decent head coach would. Manziel merely bumped into the enraged Sumlin, signaling more an absence of mind rather than a symbol of disrespect.
A Few Fun Headlines
Since Manziel's antics transpired, the media has been on a feeding frenzy regarding the young quarterback.
Texas A&M's Johnny Manziel: Unteachable and maybe Unreachable, The Washington Post
Johnny Manziel: Embrace the Dark Side, National Football Post
Manziel has made A&M the new villain, FoxSports
And that's just to name a few.
In reality, Saturday's "antics" was just Johnny Manziel being, well, Johnny Football. From an attitude perspective, there was nothing new Manziel showed against Rice anyone who watched or followed Texas A&M and its quarterback hadn't seen before.
The only difference this time around, though, was the perception surrounding Manziel due to his offseason and the amount of overall attention he's receiving due to his Heisman.
And that, apparently, makes all the difference in the world.
Read more College Football news on BleacherReport.com
The Texas Longhorns shrugged off a shaky first 27 minutes in their season opener against New Mexico State, but their opponent in their second game of the season will not be so easily dominated.
The 'Horns will travel to Provo, Utah this weekend to take on the BYU Cougars, and they will have to deal with more than just the altitude.
Bronco Mendenhall's Cougars posted the FBS' third-ranked defense last season, although they will have replaced a number of pieces on defense, including first-round draft pick defensive end Ezekiel Ansah.
One player on which the Cougars will be reliant this season is senior linebacker Kyle Van Noy, and Texas will have to make it a point to locate him on every play.
The Longhorns proved to be offensively efficient in their season opener, but they will see an entirely different and improved team in game No. 2.
The LSU passing attack was "Mett-nificent" in LSU’s 37-27 victory over TCU.
LSU quarterback Mettenberger was 16-of-32 for 251 yards and one touchdown. Yet the stats do not do him justice. He controlled the game, as TCU defensive backs were at the mercy of his pinpoint accuracy. His ability to throw set up the LSU running game.
Mettenberger threw no interceptions, and a few of his throws were dropped. He was Tom Brady-esque, as he threw the football where only his receiver could catch it.
TCU head coach Gary Patterson created a brilliant game plan. He instructed his defensive backs and linebackers to play downhill, crashing the line of scrimmage on every running play. Patterson wanted LSU to win the game through the air. He felt his defensive backs could cover the Tigers well enough to win the game.
TCU’s defensive backs lived up to their high billing. Though the Horned Frogs weren’t their sharpest, they batted down plenty of passes and were often stride for stride with LSU’s receivers.
Unfortunately for TCU, Mettenberger was just too good.
The best throws Mettenberger made were in the fourth quarter. His touchdown throw was placed on Jarvis Landry’s back hip, as defensive back Sam Carter read the slant route to perfection. The touchdown essentially sealed the victory for LSU as it made the score a two-possession game.
Mettenberger’s final throw summed up his spectacular evening. It was 3rd-and-5, and cornerback Kevin White blanketed Odell Beckham Jr. The ball was placed superbly to Beckham Jr.’s back shoulder for a 25-yard first down.
The first quarter was a clinic as well. Mettenberger’s first throw, and best throw, of the game set the tone for the LSU offense. And here is the tape to prove it.
Notice pre-snap, LSU has trips right in a “bunch” formation. TCU looks as if it's running simple Cover 2. What LSU is trying to do by putting so many receivers in a small amount of space is to cause confusion for the Horned Frogs defensive backs.
Off the snap, the TCU defensive backfield easily reads the path of the LSU receivers, by looking at Mettenberger’s eyes, with his job being to read the play-side “nickelback” and safety of TCU to see where to deliver the football.
The Horned Frogs defensive line ran a “twist-stunt” to free up a pass-rusher on the left side of the screen. A “twist” is when a defensive tackle circles around to the outside, while the defensive end goes inside, in hopes of one of them goes unblocked.
TCU succeeds with their “twist,” as defensive tackle Davion Pearson finds himself unblocked. All LSU receivers are blanketed, as Mettenberger sees Landry locked up, as seen to the bottom right of the screen. This looks to be a clear sack and early three-and-out for the TCU defense.
Despite nobody being open, Mettenberger fires a ball into heavy traffic off his back foot while getting smoked by Pearson. The ball looks as if it will be picked off easily by the defensive end or batted down.
But the ball placement from Mettenberger is so perfect; it was only be thrown where receiver Travin Dural can catch it. LSU had no open receivers, but Mettenberger, while getting crushed, trusted his arm strength and placed the football in between two defenders to Dural for the first down.
Keep in mind, this was the first throw of the game, and the season, for a quarterback who has not been well-received in Baton Rouge.
This Mettenberger fireball took guts and gave him the necessary confidence that any throw in this game could, and potentially would, be makeable. If this ball had been intercepted, it is highly unlikely Mettenberger would have played as well as he did for the rest of the game.
After another first down toss two plays later, offensive coordinator Cam Cameron called a play-action pass to the right on first down. Mettenberger’s personal protectors on the play, Dillon Gordon and J.C. Copeland, did a poor job. Yet despite getting hit again, the senior delivered a strike to Landry on the right sideline for 16 yards.
The Tigers did an excellent job in pass protection. They only allowed two sacks, both on defensive-back blitzes from the outside, which are rarely the fault of the offensive line. The line created a clean pocket for Mettenberger to throw for most of the night, led by SEC offensive lineman of the week La'el Collins.
To nitpick, Mettenberger delivered only a few bad throws. A couple of passes sailed on him. He had two deep, post-route throws to Beckham Jr., one of which was completed. The other was dropped. But both passes were slightly underthrown. If thrown farther, Beckham Jr. would catch the ball in stride for easy scores.
He does need help from other receivers and tight ends going forward. The tight ends caught zero passes. Outside of Landry and Beckham Jr., the LSU receivers caught two passes for 21 yards.
Landry is also LSU’s only receiver who can catch the ball in heavy traffic. Beckham Jr. dropped a couple of passes, as did other receivers, that were catchable. The receivers also need to be more consistent in creating space for Mettenberger to deliver the football.
The running game needs improvement as well. While the 197 yards on 48 attempts looks impressive, a chunk of the production came on a 52-yard touchdown run by Terrance Magee. It was a solid run, but it was sprung by a bad angle taken by the safety. If that long run is taken out, LSU only averaged 3.1 yards per carry.
LSU fans have much to look forward to with Mettenberger. He has now thrown for at least 200 yards in five of his last six games. Cameron looked in tune with Mettenberger as his new offensive coordinator. Next week, the Tigers plays UAB, who allowed Troy quarterback Corey Robinson to throw for a NCAA record 30-32 passes last week.
All of the preseason hype went to Johnny Manziel, AJ McCarron and Aaron Murray—and rightfully so. But Mettenberger made a strong case to be considered a part of the SEC signal-caller elite after a game for the ages.
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Auburn fans knew they would see a different look out of new defensive coordinator Ellis Johnson's 4-2-5 scheme this season.
They knew it would make the Tigers' defense more flexible. They knew it would provide for more dynamic sets. They knew it would put more pressure on some of the elite SEC quarterbacks coming up on the Tigers' schedule.
But they may not have expected to see such results this early.
The Auburn secondary picked off three passes Saturday night in the Tigers' season-opening win against Washington State—topping last season's team-wide season total of two interceptions in just one game.
Robenson Therezie pulled down two interceptions Saturday night, while Josh Holsey brought down another.
All three of them were unfamiliar sights to Auburn fans after last season's drought.
"They're in the frame of mind now, they're not frustrated that they didn't get any (interceptions), they're frustrated that they didn't get more, which is the way you want it," Johnson said on Monday. "I thought sometimes the pressure on the quarterback caused some throws. It all goes hand-in-hand, so I was real proud of them."
Therezie was honored for his performance as the SEC's Defensive Player of the Week. The junior set up the Tigers' first score of the night with his first interception and helped clinch the victory with another pick in the end zone on a Cougars first-and-goal play with less than five minutes to go in the game.
It's fitting enough, too, that Therezie was playing out of the "Star" position—the crutch of Johnson's 4-2-5 scheme.
The "Star" position, formerly known as the "Spur" during Johnson's stint as defensive coordinator at South Carolina from 2008 to 2011, is a linebacker-safety hybrid that marks the key difference between what Auburn fans see in Johnson's system compared to the traditional 4-3 defense that Auburn ran in years past.
Saturday, that extra body playing deep proved to be the difference for the Tigers in their 2013 debut.
Perhaps the most impressive part of Therezie's performance was that he stepped into the starting role as a game-time decision in place of injured starter Justin Garrett.
Garrett has battled a left foot sprain throughout all fall camp. He was spotted in a walking boot during Auburn's Fan Day on August 11.
On Saturday, Garrett was dressed to play and went through warm-ups with the team, but Therezie got the call.
"His foot has been just sort of a strange thing," Johnson said of Garrett. "It'll feel good one day and all of a sudden he'll turn on it the wrong way and the strain on it comes back in.
"If we'd had to play him, we could have, but he wasn't full-speed probably mentally or physically. So we just felt like Robenson was playing really well."
He was. Therezie's second interception put a stop to the Cougars' best fourth-quarter scoring opportunity.
With the Tigers clinging to a 31-24 lead with fewer than five minutes to play, the Washington State offense marched inside the Auburn red zone, setting up shop with first-and-goal at the Auburn eight-yard line and needing just a touchdown and an extra point to tie the game.
Therezie picked off Halliday on a fade route near the pylon with 4:16 to play.
"I had to make a big play there," Therezie said post-game Saturday. "We knew as a defense they were going for the end zone right there and we communicated the right read and I made the play."
Washington State had one more opportunity with the ball, but thanks in part to the Auburn secondary and Therezie, the Cougars never threatened.
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Despite struggling against William & Mary on Saturday, there are still signs that the West Virginia Mountaineers are a good enough team to possibly knock off the Oklahoma Sooners in Week 2.
Paul Millard looked good in the season opener and appeared to get a stronger hold on the offense as the game went along.
West Virginia's running game also improved with the addition of running back Charles Sims, and teams that can run the ball generally have a higher chance of beating the Sooners.
Check out more on these and other reasons why the Mountaineers could be due for an early season upset win in the Big 12.
The 2012 Texas Longhorns defense was the worst statistical defense in school history, especially against the run. Texas allowed 192.2 yards per game and finished last season ranked No. 88 nationally in rushing defense.
The good news for Texas is there really isn't anywhere to go but up in 2013.
Texas' defensive performance against New Mexico State
The Texas defense had a solid season opener against the New Mexico State Aggies, but that really doesn't say what is in the future for the Texas D.
The run defense held the Aggies to just 2.7 yards per carry and 104 rushing yards, 50 of those coming from the quarterback Andrew McDonald. Defensive ends Cedric Reed and Jackson Jeffcoat led the Longhorns with 14 tackles, including two tackles for loss and a sack against New Mexico State.
The Longhorns' pass defense also did well against the Aggies, allowing 7.5 yards per reception and one touchdown. Senior safety Adrian Phillips picked up five tackles and an interception on Texas' 12-yard line, which led to a 55-yard touchdown run from Longhorns quarterback David Ash.
Overall, the Texas defense showed up when it needed to against New Mexico State. It will need to continue the momentum Saturday when the Longhorns take on the BYU Cougars.
BYU's offensive performance against Virginia
Week 2 will not be a cake walk for Texas. The Longhorns head to Provo, Utah Saturday evening. BYU is coming off a Week 1 loss at Virginia, but after watching the game film, Texas really won't know what to expect from the Cougars.
BYU faced a weather delay in Charlottesville, Virginia when lightning was reported in the area at the end of first quarter. Two hours later, the Cougars took the field in monsoon-like conditions, leading to BYU quarterback Taysom Hill completing just 13 of 40 passes for 175 yards and one touchdown in the Cougars' 19-16 loss to Virginia.
Does this mean the Texas defense should expect to see the same BYU offense from last Saturday?
Not a chance.
"We're not expecting to see [last Saturday's] offense at all," senior safety Adrian Phillips said Monday. "We expect them to be an explosive, physical offense that can run the ball. We expect the works from them."
The Texas offense has spent the majority of 2013 making the shift to an uptempo offense, similar to other schools in the Big 12. One of the biggest perks of running this offense is the Texas defense will face it every day at practice to prepare for the uptempo teams this season.
BYU also runs an uptempo spread offense, meaning it's time to put up or shut up for the Texas defense against an uptempo attack.
Is the defense prepared to face an uptempo offense on the road at BYU?
"We have no choice but to be prepared," Adrian Phillips said. "We have been working against this offense for months; it's all we have been doing in the offseason."
BYU ran the ball 53 times against Virginia last Saturday, averaging 3.5 yards per carry. With the Texas run defense coming off of the worst statistical run defense season in school history, the Longhorns are excited to see how the defense responds to a powerful run game.
"BYU is going to make plays," Adrian Phillips said. "They're going to have some good runs, and it's our job to stop them. It's going to be tough, but we're ready for the challenge."
"It's going to be fun if they come out and run the ball," junior cornerback Quandre Diggs said Monday. "That's something [critics] have wanted to see and it's something that we want to do to show we are a different team than we were last year."
Containing the Cougars
At the Longhorns' press conference Monday, Texas defensive coordinator Manny Diaz said, "After the first quarter, the whole game was played on a Slip-N-Slide." Still, BYU put up 362 yards of total offense on the "Slip-N-Slide" field.
Did I mention the monsoon-like weather conditions? Well, they didn't appear to affect BYU running back Jamaal Williams, who rushed for 144 yards.
Last season, Williams led the Cougars with 775 yards rushing and 12 touchdowns. The Longhorns' run defense will be put to the test Saturday night with Williams leading the charge.
After watching the Cougars game Saturday, it's difficult to truly analyze all of the talent the Cougars have this season. Taysom Hill is a dual-threat quarterback and was responsible for both BYU touchdowns against Virginia. The stat sheet against Virginia does not show Hill's arm talent, but remember, completions do not come easily in wet-weather conditions.
Texas will need to be prepared for Hill to both run and throw the ball.
So what if the BYU offense and the combination of Williams and Hill are too much for the Texas defense to handle?
Then Longhorn fans better hope the Texas offense can outperform BYU's defense, which ranked No. 2 in rush defense and No. 3 in both scoring and total defense in 2012.
If the Longhorns don't stop the Cougars, they better move on fast—Texas hosts Ole Miss the following weekend.
Week 1 stats do not accurately show what to expect of the BYU Cougars, and I think this game will not be an easy win for the Longhorns.
Follow Taylor on Twitter: @Taylor_Gaspar
Unless otherwise noted, all quotes were obtained firsthand.
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The Florida State Seminoles looked like one of the top teams in the nation, beating Pittsburgh 41-13 in the season opener on Monday night.
It was the first ACC game for Pittsburgh. The game started off just as the Panthers had planned, but after leading 7-0 it was all downhill.
The story of the night was Florida State freshman quarterback Jameis Winston. He was dynamic in his college debut.
While one game certainly does not tell a full story, we did learn a lot during the Seminoles' victory.
For a conference that finished 10-2 on opening weekend, the Big Ten certainly made its football fans uneasy with many closer-than-expected games. As a result, the general consensus across Big Ten country seems to be that the conference is headed for a gloomy outlook again based on these results.
Not so fast, my "Chicken Little" friends. The sky is not falling (yet).
For nearly every bad or subpar outcome from the first week, there is a corresponding good result or positive sign for the future. The silver linings are real and, in some cases, actually foretell much-improved Big Ten football in 2013.
First, the conference managed to go 5-7 against the spread using the betting lines from Vegas Insider. That's nearly living nearly up to what should be the normal expectation of going .500 against the spread in a given week of non-conference play.
Continuing with those betting lines, which admittedly can be a little shaky early in the college football season, only four teams (Michigan State, Ohio State, Purdue, Nebraska) failed to cover by more than 10 points—performances that usually indicate a truly disappointing or poor performance.
Meanwhile, three teams (Minnesota, Indiana, Michigan) exceeded expectations or covered by more than 10 points, indicating great performances. That makes the big surprises and disappointments of opening weekend balance out more than one might expect, especially given the tone of Big Ten fans on Saturday following the weekend's results.
In addition, one merely has to look at the landscape of major college football to realize it could have been far worse on Saturday. Although the season record for FCS wins over BCS conference teams in a season is six, the opening weekend brought eight upset wins for the FCS, including a shocking five in a week against BCS conference teams.
The BCS conference victims included Connecticut, South Florida, Oregon State, Kansas State and Iowa State. The Big Ten joined only the ACC and the SEC in avoiding these embarrassing upsets on Saturday.
Of course, teams who suffered FCS losses like Connecticut (plays Michigan Week 4), South Florida (plays Michigan State next week), San Diego State (plays Ohio State next week) and Iowa State (plays Iowa Week 3) will try to give the Big Ten some embarrassing upsets in weeks to come. But the Big Ten teams in those matchups will not be the ones with FCS losses.
Illinois and Indiana may be borderline dumpster fires come conference play, but both teams competently handled the only FCS competition on the docket.
Moreover, the two losses by the Big Ten were completely understandable. Purdue was a double-digit underdog to Cincinnati, and the Bearcats look like serious competition for Louisville in the AAC this season. Plus UC is only a couple of years removed from a BCS bowl.
Similarly, Northern Illinois is coming directly off a 12-2 season and an Orange Bowl appearance. Its only regular season loss last year was to Iowa, and that loss was avenged in just as close a game between the teams this year. And this time, the Huskies made the late breaks as Iowa's lack of experience at quarterback hurt them.
While Cincinnati and Northern Illinois may not make the BCS again this season, there are plenty of players on both teams with that level of experience—more than any of the other teams playing Big Ten opponents last weekend (and all of those other teams ended up on the wrong side of the scoreboard).
It would have been nice for the conference to snag one of these wins, but these are not terrible losses like other major conferences endured. Plus, the Big Ten has ample opportunities left for big wins such as the three games against Notre Dame, Nebraska's visit from UCLA and Wisconsin's game at Arizona State.
In addition, the Big Ten snagged two good victories away from home, which can make for a tough opening weekend: Penn State showed that the future will be just fine with Christian Hackenberg at quarterback in a neutral-site win over Syracuse. Northwestern survived multiple injuries and a better-than-expected Cal team led by new coach Sonny Dykes to earn a rare west-coast victory.
One should expect both of those wins to look better and better as the 2013 season continues. The Orange and the Bears may struggle with first-year head coaches in their respective conferences, but there is more than enough talent at both programs to pull some serious upsets.
The Big Ten just needs to hope those upsets do not include Northwestern next week against Syracuse or Ohio State in a roadtrip to Cal in Week 3.
Furthermore, first week results are rarely indicative of a season at large. Teams have spent months working out and hitting each other in camps, and the high levels of anticipation usually leads to sloppy play in opening weekends.
That sloppy play led to many mistakes that kept teams like Southern Illinois, Wyoming, Buffalo, Syracuse and California in games much later than would have otherwise been the case. Don't expect the same mistakes from veterans like Braxton Miller, Trevor Siemian and Nathan Scheelhaase in future weeks.
Teams also tend to improve dramatically throughout the month of September. If that holds true again this season, then the weaknesses seen in most of the Big Ten teams will lose significance by the time conference play rolls around.
Yes, this means Nebraska's defense and Indiana's defense, as well as the offenses in Minnesota and Michigan State, will improve from what was shown last weekend. That improvement means those teams should not be so reliant on the stronger, more experienced unit like they were in 2012 and during the opening weekend of the 2013 season.
Another good sign is the higher level of play from quarterbacks across the conference. Teams with new quarterbacks like Michigan (Devin Gardner), Iowa (Jake Rudock) and Penn State (Christian Hackenberg) appear to have leaders ready to go right away based on the successful statistics in the openers. Rudock and Hackenberg each threw for well over 200 yards and kept pace with more experienced quarterbacks on the opposition.
Teams with quarterback shuffles also appeared to find success for the most part. Indiana has two good performing quarterbacks in Nate Sudfeld and Tre Roberson, and so does Wisconsin with Joel Stave and Curt Phillips. Even the best quarterbacks in the conference, Braxton Miller and Taylor Martinez, appear to have continued to improve their throwing form during this offseason.
The only real failure seems to be in East Lansing, where Andrew Maxwell and Connor Cook still cannot figure out who wants the job more (neither broke a quarterback rating of 35 on Saturday). Considering that Michigan State can likely rely on the defense again to carry the team to a winning record, perhaps that quarterback controversy can span a couple more weeks and not be an issue.
For at least these reasons, Big Ten fans cannot take this isolated week out of context and assume that the Big Ten will be one of the weaker BCS conferences again in 2013. On the contrary, the signs in many of these programs appear to point in a positive direction.
This may not be enough to single-handedly knock off the SEC, but it is enough to be excited about. Just don't take your excitement to these levels...
Dehydration and poor judgment are the least of poor Vodka Girl's problems. Don't be like her, and don't be a chicken little just yet.
There will be plenty of time for that in the coming weeks if the Big Ten actually does prove to be poor again this season. For now, take a deep breath and enjoy the next two weeks of much-improved play from teams across the country.
Thanks for reading! Please provide your thoughts on whether the Week 1 results will prove much of anything over the length of 2013 in the comments below.
Also, please follow me on Twitter (@DA_Fitzgerald for sports-only and article links, @BuckeyeFitzy for personal and game-day commentary purposes) and keep the conversation going. See you later this week with more analysis.
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BYU entered the 2013 season on the wrong foot, suffering a bizarre road loss to Virginia. Despite gaining more offensive yards and leading for much of the game, the Cougars earned a frustrating loss to start the year.
There are many things to be taken from the game, both positive and negative. With a strong defense and plenty of offensive struggles, lessons are abundant, and here are five of them.
College football's Week 1 is in the books, and Bleacher Report's official Top 25 poll is on the heels of the final game of the week.
From FCS upsets to unforeseen victories by previously questionable teams, take a look at how things have changed in the upper echelon of the sport.
Poll voters (in alphabetical order): Chris Bello, Adam Biggers, Eric Bowman, Carter Bryant, Phil Callihan, Alex Callos, Andrew Coppens, Bill Eichenberger, Trenise Ferreira, Sean Frye, Kyle Kensing, Ben Kercheval, Sanjay Kirpalani, Adam Kramer, David Luther, Jonathan McDanal, Lafe Peavler, Max Rausch, David Regimbal, Patrick Runge, Barrett Sallee, Alex Sims, Erin Sorensen, Carl Stine and Rich Thomaselli.
Each voter submitted an individual Top 25, and every first-place team was given 25 points. The second-place team received 24, and so on with the 25th-place team earning one point.
No. 11 Florida State looks like a bona fide BCS championship contender after redshirt freshman Jameis Winston aced his NCAA debut in a 41-13 beatdown over Pittsburgh.
But that's putting it lightly. The young quarterback lived up to the hype—and more—while dismantling the Panthers under the bright lights of their Monday night matchup. In nearly perfect fashion, Winston completed 25 of his 27 passes, and threw for four touchdowns, on his way to 356 passing yards in his collegiate debut.
ESPN provided a highlight of his final touchdown pass, the third of the night to tight end Nick O'Leary:
Warchant.com said that his completion rate was the best for any Seminoles quarterback in school history:
His incredible first-half performance also earned him some recognition nationwide, per ESPN Stats & Information:
ESPN Stats & Information also pointed out a very interesting tidbit concerning Winston's four-touchdown performance:
And don't think that Winston's emergence was because of the level of competition on the other sideline. Pitt might not be ready to make a BCS run, but the Panthers' defense shouldn't be considered chopped liver either. If you do think Pitt has a bad defense, though, then the rest of the Seminoles' schedule will not be giving the young quarterback much of a challenge the rest of the season.
ESPN's Brad Edwards echoed the point with this Tweet:
With the heir to EJ Manuel apparently locked into place, the Seminoles can now focus on their remaining 2013 schedule. Winston made perfect reads, scrambled to extend plays and consistently threw one of the best balls we've seen in the young 2013 season. Smart Football editor Chris Brown said it succinctly but perfectly:
Running the table won't be easy, but their electric young quarterback, stingy defense and talented skill players give them a shot to compete and win each week. It's true, despite losing several defensive starters to the NFL last season, the Seminoles still boast one of the strongest units on that side of the ball in the nation.
In fact, the team has more junior and senior starters on its roster this season than it did in 2012, according to ESPN's Andrea Adelson.
Clemson and Florida will provide huge tests. The Tigers boast one of the most NFL-ready quarterbacks in the country in Tajh Boyd and explosive playmaker Sammy Watkins. And Florida is always a threat to play the Seminoles closely.
Don't be surprised, though, if the reloaded Noles, led by Winston, topple both of their rivals en route to an appearance in the BCS National Championship Game. That is, if they can also avoid a letdown game; something that has become a trend under head coach Jimbo Fisher.
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The date August 31, 2013 will not be remembered fondly by Boise State football fans.
In addition to being thrashed 38-6 by the Washington Huskies in Seattle, the Broncos almost surely played their way out of the AP Top 25 heading into Week 2 of the season. The Huskies were unranked in the preseason poll, and despite being a three-and-a-half-point favorite according to Odds Shark, it was a great surprise to most fans that the Broncos struggled so mightily against Steve Sarkisian’s squad.
Lastly, the loss means that Boise State’s shot at busting the BCS party one final time before college football switches to a playoff format has been made exponentially more difficult.
However, fans of the Broncos must not sulk too much over the defeat. There is still a lot more football to be played, and it would be nice to figure out where the Broncos can improve in order to make this season worth watching.
At this point, most people have their opinions of the game and of the individual performances. But just in case you don’t, we’re going hand out grades to the Broncos’ offensive leader, senior quarterback Joe Southwick. In this segment, we’ll rate Southwick on all facets of his game from this past Saturday: passing, rushing and an overall grade as well as some keys to improvement against Tennessee-Martin.
If one game is any indication, the Florida State Seminoles aren't going to have to look very far for their next superstar quarterback.
Freshman Jameis Winston put together one of the finest first starts in recent college football history Monday night, helping lead the 11th-ranked Seminoles to a dominant 41-13 victory over the Pittsburgh Panthers at Heinz Field.
Winston, who also plays outfield for the Florida State baseball team, finished his first college football game completing 25-of-27 passes for 356 yards and four touchdowns. The dual-threat quarterback also scampered for 25 yards, becoming the driving force on a night where the Seminoles gained 533 yards on the road.
Winston was particularly strong in the first half. The 18-year-old Alabama native completed all but one of his 18 first-half passes, good for 240 yards and three touchdowns. He connected with tight end Nick O'Leary twice in about a six-minute span and looked comfortable beyond-his-years in the pocket.
Winston also rushed for a five-yard touchdown in the second quarter and completed his first-half onslaught with a 23-yard pass to Rashad Greene. ESPN Stats & Info noted that Winston became the only quarterback this decade to have three touchdown passes and one rushing touchdown in his first collegiate half:
The entirety of Florida State's onslaught came after a promising start to the contest for Pittsburgh. The Panthers, playing in their first game as an ACC member school, started off the game by exciting the Heinz Field crows with a beautifully orchestrated drive.
Quarterback Tom Savage completed two passes to Devin Street totaling 47 yards, and handed the ball off to Isaac Bennett and Tyler Boyd five times on the nine-play, 80-yard march. After completing the second of the passes to Street, Savage finished off the drive by connecting with Manasseh Garner on a four-yard score.
The Panthers defense forced a quick punt on Florida State's opening possession. But just as soon as the momentum was shifting heavily in the direction of the underdogs, poor decisions from Savage started turning the tide.
The senior signal-caller threw a bad interception to Jalen Ramsey on a forced pass up the seam, one that the freshman cornerback returned to just outside the Pitt red zone. Winston needed all of two plays to hit O'Leary on a 24-yard score, tying the game up at 7-7 and beginning a drubbing that wouldn't stop until the final whistle.
That score started a 28-3 run to end the first half, with Pitt having only one drive the remainder of the half last longer than three plays—which (of course) resulted in the lone field goal.
Meanwhile, Florida State combined sustained drives with easy scoring opportunities to pull ahead for good. Winston engineered two drives in the second quarter that averaged nearly 80 yards, silencing the once-raucous crowd.
A second interception from Savage helped set up the half's final touchdown for the 'Noles, who went into the break ahead 28-10.
With the game mostly in hand from the outset of the second half, Florida State focused on churning the clock and getting out of the Steel City unscathed. Though Winston was still throwing early into the fourth quarter, the passes mostly consisted of check-downs meant to keep a drive going forward.
Running backs James Wilder and Devonta Freeman then took over the attack. The duo combined for 110 yards on 19 carries, though Wilder left the game after being nicked up with a shoulder injury.
The toned down style led to the Seminoles scoring only 13 points in the second half, with their final touchdown coming on a third Winston-to-O'Leary strike early in the fourth quarter. O'Leary only had three touchdowns all of last season.
Pittsburgh meanwhile just tried to keep the contest respectable on a night where Panther alum Larry Fitzgerald saw his jersey retired.
Although the opening minutes gave the Panthers some level of hope, it was tough to expect a result different than what Monday night's outcome brought forth. Pittsburgh is coming off consecutive losing seasons for the first time this century, compiling a 6-7 record in 2011 and 2012 while playing in the less-difficult Big East. Paul Chryst is finally bringing stability to what was a topsy-turvy coaching situation, but it'll likely be some time before the Panthers compete with the ACC elite.
On the other side of the field, the Seminoles have to feel great about where they're at. A major reason this team wasn't inside the Top 10 in the preseason was questions about whether Winston could live up to the hype and adequately replace EJ Manuel under center.
Placing too much stock into one game is a fool's errand, but suffice it to say Florida State is off to a good start.
Jameis Winston (QB, Florida State): A
If I believed in the concept of the A+ grade—we're not in kindergarten anymore, folks—this would be just about the only appropriate place to give it.
Winston wasn't just great Monday night. He was "everyone gets on social media and acts irrational" transcendent. Seriously. Just go and shuffle through the Jameis Winston Twitter search and awash yourself in the somewhat deserved hyperbole.
While Pitt isn't exactly a national power, Winston's numbers would have been impressive even if he were playing an FCS school. Playing in your first collegiate game is a stressful endeavor for any young kid. But to put up those numbers on the road in an electric atmosphere like Heinz Field was something special.
Now if you'll excuse me, I'm going to exclude the phrase "Jameis Winston Heisman" from my Google alerts.
Rashad Greene (WR, Florida State): A
You'll likely be spending the next few days hearing folks heap praise upon O'Leary in Tallahassee. Three touchdowns will do that for a kid.
That said, if there's anyone Winston showed a great connection with on Monday night, it was Greene. The junior wideout may have only caught one of his quarterback's scores, but he added an additional seven catches en route to an eight-grab, 126-yard performance.
The yardage total for Greene was the second-highest of his career behind only a 12-catch, 163-yard evening against Wake Forest as a freshman. While that performance was supposed to mark the impetus of a breakout for the highly-touted recruit, perhaps Greene's time has finally come.
Either way, he and Winston at least had it going for one night.
It might have been Savage's interceptions that provided the ignition to Winston Mania, but it's impossible to fault two mistakes for a 28-point thrashing. Had Savage continued the drive where he threw his first pick and led the Panthers to a score, perhaps it would have been a different game.
Outside of two mistakes, however, this wasn't a bad outing from the less-famous quarterback also making his collegiate debut Monday night. Savage finished the game 15-of-28 passing for 201 yards and a touchdown against those two picks, and showed some moxie in the second half to keep the offense driving despite an impossible situation.
He also showed some nice arm strength, connecting on a deep bomb to Street in the fourth quarter.
There aren't many positives to losing by four touchdowns. Nevertheless, the Panthers just faced perhaps their toughest test of the year in Week 1. Not a terrible start from their quarterback.
Drew Street (WR, Pittsburgh): A
Let's stick in the positive realm here for a bit. On a night where possibly the greatest wide receiver in Pitt history saw his number go up in the upper deck of Heinz Field, Street continued staking his claim as one of the best since Fitz's departure.
The senior from Bethlehem, Pa., grabbed six passes for 141 yards, including the aforementioned 51-yard pitch and catch with Savage. He exposed a couple holes in Florida State's coverage throughout the contest and was really the only Pitt skill-position player who showed up and competed against one of the nation's best squads.
Things might not have gone well on the scoreboard, but Street may have piqued the interest of scouts.
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