If Week 1 of the 2017 college football season proved anything, it’s that so much can change so quickly. Last week, Florida State was ranked third in the country, was favored to win the ACC, and was vying for a statement win over Alabama in front of a prime-time national audience.
Four quarters, seven points, and one season-ending injury later, the Seminoles are more or less out of the national-title hunt.
That’s how quickly things can change.
The FSU defense will keep Jimbo Fisher in games, but without Deondre Francois – and with a running game that produced 40 yards on 27 carries – FSU will struggle against elite competition. If the Seminoles fall to No. 16 Miami on Sept. 16, their season, for all intents and purposes, is over.
(Boy, that escalated quickly! I mean, that really got out of hand fast! Brick killed a guy with a trident!)
ANYWAY, here’s a look at the top six teams in America heading into Week 2.
1 (1): Alabama (1-0)
It was a one-game sample against one of the best defenses in the country, but I feel relatively comfortable making this statement: the Alabama offense is not that good. Jalen Hurts completed 10 passes for 96 yards in Alabama’s 24-7 win over Florida State, and only one player, Calvin Ridley, had more than one catch. Yes, the Tide won by three scores, but this was a three-point game with less than two minutes to go in the third quarter. If I’m a Bama fan, I’m not losing sleep, but I’m also wondering what happens in a shootout, especially late in the season. Alabama has allowed 35+ points in three of its five playoff games – and lost two of them. If weapons outside of Ridley do not emerge, that’s a problem.
2 (4): Ohio State (1-0)
Ohio State’s offense didn’t look great against Indiana but still managed 49 points, as J.T. Barrett posted his first 300-yard game since last year’s season-opener against Bowling Green. He also had touchdown throws to three different receivers, which, 12 months ago, would have been a miracle.
True freshman tailback J.K. Dobbins, meanwhile, is legit. Dude had 205 total yards in his first college game. Dobbins will start against Oklahoma, but unless Urban Meyer plans on giving him 300+ touches this season, you’ll still see a steady diet of Mike Weber.
The offense is still a work in progress, but the weapons are there.
3 (3) Clemson (1-0)
Clemson began the post-Deshaun Watson era with a 56-3 beatdown of Kent State.
Quarterback Kelly Bryant did his best Deshaun Watson impersonation, accounting for 300+ total yards and two scores (one pass, one rush), but let’s see how he fares against No. 13 Auburn. The Tigers – the ones from Auburn – should provide a stiffer test this week.
4 (6) Penn State (1-0)
I don’t like rewarding teams for blowout wins over the MAC, but man, Penn State is good, and Saquon Barkley is absurdly good. As long as he’s on the field, Penn State can beat anyone.
JUST MISSING THE CUT
5 (NR): Michigan (1-0)
I said last week that I wasn’t a believer in USC, and the Trojans’ white-knuckle win over Western Michigan was exactly why. While I still think this is a rebuilding year for Michigan – and by “rebuilding year,” I mean 9-3 or better – I have to give Jim Harbaugh some love after the beatdown he gave the trash-taking Gators, who, in their last two games against Michigan, have allowed 84 points and scored just one offensive touchdown.
Go home, Gators. You’re drunk.
6 (NR) Oklahoma (1-0)
Did we learn anything about the Sooners in their 56-7 win over UTEP? No, not really. Will we learn a lot about the Sooners when they face Ohio State in Columbus on Saturday? Yes. Definitely yes.
Here’s the deal: The Buckeyes embarrassed Oklahoma in Norman last year. There’s no ifs, ands or buts about that. It was ugly. And that was when the Sooners had Joe Mixon, Semaje Perine, and Dede Westbrook, all of whom are in the NFL. So, should we expect Baker Mayfield and friends to waltz into the Horseshoe and win? No, we should not.
But if they – or the Big 12 – want respect, it needs to be close. Not close for a half. Not close for three quarters. I’m talking fourth-quarter, last-drive, down-to-the-wire close.
If Oklahoma wins, you’ve got a playoff contender and Heisman Trophy candidate. If Oklahoma gets blown out, you’ve got another year of Big 12 irrelevance.
Tony Meale is a Chicago-based author, journalist, and content creator who uses words to inform, educate, entertain, and inspire. A Cincinnati native, he has a bachelor’s degree in English from Saint Louis University and a master’s degree in journalism from Ohio University. He began his career as a high school sports reporter before writing and publishing 2012’s “The Chosen Ones: The Team That Beat LeBron,” a behind-the-scenes look at the greatest sports story never told. He’s been creating written and spoken content ever since.