Ignore for a moment the clownfraud preseason Top 10 that was bestowed upon the Oregon Ducks. Sure, that requires looking past such facts as a completely new coaching staff, a rebuilding defense, no one to throw the ball to, and Bo Nix doing the throwing: Georgia looked really good yesterday. And until you kill the king, heavy rests the crown. So too did Alabama play with their food, and could have hung 80 or so on the defending MWC Champs (still, the win over Oregon was against a better opponent; so UGA gets the nod). But how good were those teams, really? They’re probably both bowl teams in a real conference, and the Ducks certainly have some talent. But with so many losses and new coaches, did we learn a whole bunch? For the Tide, we’ll know next week. And we may not know for several more weeks exactly what that Oregon win means for the ‘Dawgs.
Also going nowhere: the Michigan Wolverines who were every bit the fast, dominant modern (gasp) team that Harbaugh finally rolled out last season. And, while Notre Dame also has a new staff and is rebuilding at several critical areas, it is still Notre Dame talent. Ohio State got the big win it needed (though the lack of commitment to RTDB should scare the hell out of all Buckeyes fans, as should Stroud’s inability to stretch the field against a quality secondary). The Domers may not score much this year, but good luck putting up points on them. Nasty, nasty defense — this team may be Catholic Clemson (and no matter what Clemson does on Monday, it won’t be a better win than the teams above it).
New staffs at USC and Oklahoma got off to a bang-up start. The Sooners look like a different team entirely. Oklahoma State and Baylor again can’t throw the ball, but the defenses and ground attacks for both were outstanding (ignore the garbage scores the bench allowed). The Bears and Pokes look the be the greatest beneficiaries of the Horns and Sooners skeedaddling to the SEC. In that same class, we also have Kansas State. Tough, physical manball team in the ass-end of Manhattan, Kansas. Klieman is going to ruin some seasons this year. (Speaking of, their ACC doppelganger, Syracuse, looked positively dangerous yesterday. If the Orange defense can play like that...)
Michigan State and Pitt replaced some key pieces, but especially noticeable was the defensive effort by Sparty. Pitt is a well-coached team. They took advantage of every break given to them by a good ‘Eers team, and even manufactured their own. A group of second-tier contenders in the SEC had fantastic defensive efforts, even if Ole Miss and Arkansas struggled to score against quality teams. Kentucky’s offensive line looks to be an Achilles heel this year. Gross, gross up front. I don’t think Stoops wants Levis to be throwing three dozen times a game. Don’t get your fainting couch out just yet, but not only did Mississippi State play good defense and light up the Memphis Tigers, CLANGA also rushed for almost 100 yards. (And, FWIW, in a game some had projected them to struggle in, the Auburn Tigers had a business-like dismantling of Mercer, the Southern Conference runner-up). And while Florida’s mission in Year 1 of Billy Napier was to forge a physical identity, be competitive, and get back to SEC football, his first big win of his Gator tenure has already arrived. Knocking off AP No. 7 Utah at home gets you there...even if it was as ugly as Arkansas-Cincinnati at times.
Speaking of struggling, many FBS teams would struggle against the South Dakota State Jackrabbits — and a whole bunch would lose — but 7-3 at home with two safeties and a field goal was absolutely Kirk Ferentz porn at its finest. I wouldn’t worry about it too much. Iowa has always gotten of the gate slow. We learned almost nothing about their division rivals, Minnesota and Wisconsin, though both look to have picked up where they left off last year as quality Top 25ish teams at times. The Gophers are actually in even better shape too, with the return of Ibrahim. Penn State’s gutsy road Dub in West Lafayette is going to look really good at the end of the year. Purdue is a good team, and the B1G seems as crowded as ever.
Last year’s midmajors also didn’t go anywhere either: Cincinnati and Houston again are the class of the AAC — and likely all of the G5, though as I had predicted, UTSA played their ass off and nearly won that game. The Roadrunners are legitimately good. Air Force looked awesome. Coastal rebounded and put up a gritty second half W against an equally gritty Army team. East Carolina and Appalachian State were every bit the tough out predicted and both will be a player this year. (But App. State’s defense has to give you some pause).
Finally, what do we really know about the ACC here? NC State and UNC still can’t play worth a damn on the road, though both did get wins on hostile G5 fields. I would say the same about the PAC 12, but we already know what they’re about. Nothing. Utah took it on the chin in the Swamp, Colorado got ran out of their own building, Stanford struggled with Colgate and on and on.
So, no, 2021 didn’t go anywhere really. It picked back up as though no time had passed at all. If that holds true, then Alabama. Georgia. Ohio State, and now Michigan.
Meet the new bosses; same as the old bosses. College football does love its oligarchs.
Here is the Week 1 Blog Poll: Usual caveats apply. The criteria are nebulous, far-ranging, and capricious — strength of schedule, bad and good coaching, injuries, exigent circumstances, home/away results, defense or lack thereof, offense or lack thereof, line play, power poll-ishness, can you cover a spread (Vegas is pretty smart about how good a team is), head-to-head where possible or prudent, and my own lying eyeballs.
Just because teams are here one week doesn’t mean they’ll stay there. It’s a new year, with new data points.
2022 Week 1 Top 25
|2021 FINAL WNABP RANK
|2021 FINAL WNABP RANK
|Coastal Carolina, Minnesota, Fresno, USC
|Utah, App. State, UNC, Air Force, Miami
|MAYBE 'Cuse and ECU and JMU and Auburn
Fully aware this is an Alabama website, being as objective as possible, who would you rank No. 1?
This poll is closed