NCAA Football Report (Week 1)

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Week 1 in NCAA Football has always been one of the most and least exciting weeks of football out there.

It is exciting because one of the most exciting forms of football is finally back after more than six months without the always thrilling storylines.

Week 1 can also provide some of the most exciting upsets in College Football, see Michigan against Appalachian State in 2007.

It is also one of the least exciting weeks of the season as there are few teams who actually take a risk in their first game of the year.

Ranked teams rarely take on other ranked teams because no major program wants to falter right out of the gate.

A loss in Week 1 can really hurt a program’s ability to make the playoffs mainly because they have to win out the rest of the season.

If they were to take a loss in the first week it would seem certain that a second loss would eliminate them from playoff contention.

That leaves a lot of time for another surprising game especially when they begin taking on their own conference.

So more often than not the excitement of football coming back gives way to blowouts that show just how much of a difference there is between the haves and the have-nots.

Big programs take on teams that are far away from the rankings with some even reaching into Division I-FCS to find their first opponents.

There is always a chance for a team to take a big loss but more often than not teams are more prepared than any other week.

It leads to terrible games throughout the weekend where the big programs are rarely in any real trouble.

But that is not the case for every team in the first week of the season as certain teams need that statement game.

There are a number of teams who are sitting on the outskirts of that playoff berth without much hype around them to start the year.

They are often good programs but just can’t get through the talk that surrounds those pre-season playoff favourites.

With most of those top teams taking on lesser opponents in Week 1 the teams on the outskirts can try to take the limelight.

They will schedule good teams in what amounts to a Hail Mary in scheduling hoping that they can come through.

It is a risky strategy as a win could put them right into the mix to start the season but a loss could eliminate them before the season really begins.

Taking on ranked opponents is never an easy thing but to do it right out of the gate makes it that much tougher.

In Week 0 the Miami Hurricanes and Florida Gators took that chance as the only major programs to play in Week 0.football-sidebar

They were hoping to capture the headlines as the only big game on the docket leaving them as the focus of the week.

For the Gators, it worked out as they took the win and showed that they can beat teams that are highly regarded.

For the Hurricanes, it was a failed attempt at making an impact for a program that needed an injection of life and seemed to be ready to return to the spotlight.

In Week 1 the honour of that risk fell to Oregon and Auburn, two teams that need someone to notice them early.

For Auburn, the shadow of Alabama looms large in the SEC especially when you come from the same state.

They need to make their own way and not entirely depend on the Iron Bowl at the end of the year to show that they belong.

To do that they agreed to an opening game against the Oregon Ducks who seemed like a team poised to return to the spotlight.

With Justin Herbert leading the way as the QB that many think will be chosen first overall in the NFL Draft next year the Ducks were trying to return to the playoff after years of dominance in the Pac 12 gave way to anonymity.

Unfortunately for the Ducks, the plan did not work out as they were in it for the majority of the game but fell off in the fourth quarter.

The Tigers scored 14 points in the fourth quarter to take the win and take full advantage of the big stage.

They will now move up the rankings and look to show that they are not just the other team in Alabama but the team in Alabama.

Week 1 provided few statement games but for the teams that took advantage, it could mean all of the difference.

 

Heisman Watch

Death Valley Battle

It could turn out to be one of the more interesting battles in the Heisman Race for 2019 as the Clemson Tigers have two legitimate candidates. Although the preseason talked a lot more about Trevor Lawrence it was Travis Etienne who took control in Week 1. Larence was a relative non-factor in Clemson’s win over Georgia Tech while Etienne took over. Running for 205 yards and three touchdowns was the statement he needed to put his name solidly in the running for the Heisman after the first week.

Revenge Tour to NYC

Jalen Hurts was once a Heisman candidate that was ready to lead the Alabama Crimson Tide to the National Championship. He was widely considered one of the best in the country until he was pulled in the 2018 National Championship game for Tua Tagovailoa. The Tide became Tagovailoa’s team and Hurts was relegated to a back-up throughout the 2018 season. This season he transferred to Oklahoma where he could take the reigns and he did just that in his first start. With 332 yards and three touchdowns through the air along with 176 yards and three touchdowns on the ground he threw his hat into the mix early.

Surprising Contender

 It happens every year as the Heisman favourites talked about throughout the preseason always find another competitor who comes out of nowhere. Justin Fields never really came out of nowhere as he was one of the top-ranked quarterbacks in the country when he committed to Georgia. After a year of sitting behind Jake Fromm, Fields left this offseason for Ohio State where he beat out other top QB prospects to take the starting role. In his first significant start he showed why he was a top-ranked QB throwing for 234 yards and four touchdowns while adding another through the ground. He seems to be the dark horse if this continues to show why he won the QB competition.

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