NCAA Football Report (Week 1)

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The first week of the NCAA Football season is usually a lot less like a kickoff to a season and a lot more like the end of preseason football.

That has been the same for a long time as teams always prefer to schedule a fairly easy game at the start of their season.

It makes sense for a lot of teams because there is no preseason in the NCAA.

Teams have to go from spring practice to training camp all while only having scrimmages.

It can make it tough for head coaches to figure out what they really have on the team and what they need to work on.

There is nothing like a real game to truly test a team and football programs in the NCAA don’t get those real games until the season opens up on Week 1.

So more often than not teams take their opportunities in Week 1 to schedule a weaker team, usually from Division I-FCS.

That gives them the opportunity to take on a less dangerous opponent and really figure out where they are as a team.

Mistakes can be made in these games and the repercussions are minimal as they will usually win despite making mistakes.

A new era of football has started to change that practice though as there is less time to schedule those “easy” games than ever before.

Now there is no computer making a decision based on an equation that can put a certain number on the strength of schedule.

Now with the College Football Playoff, it is all about impressing the committee made up of football and non-football people.

Putting a schedule together with a number of good teams but also with a number of FCS teams is not a way to impress most of the voters.

If teams win then who really cares because they were always supposed to win and although it keeps their perfect records intact it doesn’t get them an impressive win to put on their record.

Teams are beginning to learn that and although many of the top programs in big conferences have their share of FCS schools to play this season they are beginning to schedule them a lot more strategically.

This year may have been the best first week that College Football has ever seen and it is all thanks to the new system.

More teams than ever scheduled some of their tougher out-of-conference games to start the year.football-sidebar

Everyone was looking to make an impression in the first week of the season and to do that some needed to beat one of their tougher tests of the season.

Many of the top-ranked teams in the country were set to face off of other ranked teams making their first weeks much more interesting than usual.

Those games were also a big boost for the other ranked teams as many were going to struggle to find teams that they could play in order to work their way close to the playoff.

Playing a top-ranked team gave them that chance early and a few took full advantage of that opportunity.

In the first week of the season, three top ten teams lost games including two top five teams losing their first time out.

It started when #15 Houston beat #3 Oklahoma in the biggest surprise of the week while it was then followed up by an unranked Wisconsin team beating #5 LSU at Lambeau Field.

Then on a special Sunday showcase, the #10 Notre Dame Fighting Irish dropped one of the best games of the week to the unranked Texas Longhorns in double overtime.

It was a shakeup in the rankings after only the first week of the season which is what everyone watching wants to see.

Hopefully, this is the start of a trend and won’t scare teams off as it makes for a truly exciting first week of the season.

It is a good way for a team to get noticed quickly and if it continues opening week in the NCAA will be a lot more like an opening week is supposed to be and not just a preseason walk through.

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Key Scores:
#15 Houston Cougars 33-23 Oklahoma Sooners #3
– The Cougars had a lot of pressure heading into the season as many thought they were a good bet to break-up the big conferences in the playoff and they proved why getting their first big win against the #3 team in the country

Wisconsin Badgers 16-14 LSU Tigers #5
– The Badgers may have gained a little bit of magic from Lambeau Field as they played in the legendary stadium in front of a home crowd and were able to shut down Leonard Fournette to take the surprise win over LSU

Texas Longhorns 50-47 Notre Dame Fighting Irish #10 (2OT)
– The Fighting Irish dominated Texas a year ago in the first week but the Longhorns were ready for them this year as they went back and forth with Notre Dame until the second overtime when they took the lead for good

#4 Florida State Seminoles 45-34 Ole Miss Rebels #11
– The Seminoles finished off the first week of the season on Labour Day with the risk of taking a loss like two other top five teams and although they played a close one with the Rebels they took the win and are poised for a move up the rankings

Next Week:
Lamar Cardinals vs. Houston Cougars (Saturday, September 10th; 12:00 pm ET)
– The Cougars took a big win in their first week of the season but they now have to avoid that high of taking out a top team to beat a team that they should beat if they want to stay on track to break into the playoff

SMU Mustangs vs. Baylor Bears (Saturday, September 10th; 3:30 pm ET)
– The Mustangs were at one time one of the best programs in the country and they are still trying to recover from a season lost and getting a win against the Bears could help in that recovery while the Bears try to continue winning

Nevada Wolfpack vs. Notre Dame Fighting Irish (Saturday, September 10th; 3:30 pm ET)
– The Irish had one of the best games of the first week but they came out on the losing end of it and now they try to keep their playoff hopes alive with a win against Nevada as another loss to anyone will end those hopes

Virginia Tech Hokies vs. Tennessee Volunteers (Saturday, September 10th; 8:00 pm ET)
– The Volunteers are supposed to be a dark horse in the SEC and they try to continue that against the Hokies in a unique venue as both teams face-off in the centre field of Bristol Motor Speedway

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