There is simply far too much to talk about from Week 1 of college football. If I got paid by the word, I’d happily write volumes on Iowa State quarterback Hunter Dekkers’ throwing mechanics. Alas, we need to be economical about this.
Instead, let’s circle back to the storyline that dominated the early offseason — all those new head coaches. After a single game of action, how do their fan bases feel? Yes, it’s definitely way too early to form any rational thoughts about these guys. And? Last I checked, rationality had no place in college football. Let the rampant, unfounded speculation begin.
Billy Napier, Florida (beat No. 7 Utah 29-26)
It’s hard to start off better than beating a top-10 team at home. The Florida defense made crucial stops for the first time this decade, and quarterback Anthony Richardson was must-watch TV every time he touched the ball. Utah certainly didn’t play its best game, but who cares? I’m not sure last year’s Gators would have even mustered up the willpower to exit the locker room to face a team as physical as the Utes.
Mario Cristobal, Miami (beat Bethune-Cookman 70-13)
Sure, it’s only Bethune-Cookman, but Miami was dominant. Quarterback play was strong, and Cristobal is the kind of coach who can finally bring the swag back to the U. This could be a turning point for one of the most poorly managed athletic departments in major college football. Go ’Canes!
Lincoln Riley, USC (beat Rice 66-14)
Sure, it’s only Rice, but USC was dominant. Quarterback play was strong, and Riley is the kind of coach who can finally bring the glory back to USC. This could be a turning point for one of the most poorly managed athletic departments in major college football. Fight on!
Marcus Freeman, Notre Dame (lost to No. 2 Ohio State 21-10)
I’m not sure there is an amount by which the Irish could have lost to make its fans fall out of love with Marcus Freeman. Frankly, I’m not sure there’s an amount that would have made me fall out of love with Marcus Freeman, but that’s beside the point.
Notre Dame held Ohio State to its lowest point total since Oct. 20, 2018, making quarterback CJ Stroud look remotely human. Even without star wideout Jaxon Smith-Njigba on the field for most of the night, that’s pretty remarkable.
I don’t want to overhype the Irish, but if they can find a way to start drives outside their own 15-yard line and do pretty much anything on offense in the second half, they could be a year away from a year away from losing a Playoff game by single digits.
Kalen DeBoer, Washington (beat Kent State 45-20)
If you are a Washington fan, I can’t fathom why you would be complaining after Week 1. Your team didn’t lose to an FCS school in its opener this season. That’s huge! Not to mention, four passing touchdowns on 393 combined passing yards? I understand why you’d be hesitant to hitch your hopes to quarterback Michael Penix Jr.’s three remaining intact ligaments, but this could be the first genuinely fun season of Husky football in a while.
Brent Venables, Oklahoma (beat UTEP 45-13)
I imagine Oklahoma fans are perfectly content with Venables. Quarterback Dillon Gabriel is a stud and the defense looked pretty solid against UTEP, for whatever that’s worth.
Perhaps more than anything, I think Sooner fans can agree this is an upstanding group of scholarly gentlemen who would never betray their beloved school to abscond to the valley of opulence and sin.
Too Invested to Experience Doubt
Brian Kelly, LSU (lost to Florida State 24-23)
Well, I do declare — if LSU’s special teams didn’t have a hitch in their get-along Sunday night. The run game was too weak to whip a gnat, and quarterback Jaden Daniels has got to be plum tired after carrying the Tiger offense all game, bless his heart. Fortunately, LSU has more talent and resources than Carter’s has liver pills. The university gave Kelly enough money to burn a wet mule, and he should have the Tiger family winning games in no time. Lord, bless this mess.
Dan Lanning, Oregon (lost to No. 3 Georgia badly)
Eugene is a lovely city. Oregon’s uniforms are a very pleasant shade of green. Dan Lanning sort of looks like Chris Pratt mid-body transformation, and I find that incredibly charming.
OK, fine. Let’s talk about the football.
“C’mon, it’s game one against the reigning national champions. What are you supposed to do?” That’s totally fair. But, like, you do realize teams scored touchdowns against the Bulldogs last year, right?
Oregon has a ton of talent, is solid along both lines, and will fare much better throughout the rest of its schedule. Lanning should still be a cause for considerable hype. However, would I be shocked if I checked ESPN on Oct. 9 and saw quarterback Bo Nix went 11/29 with three interceptions in a 20-13 loss at Arizona the previous night? It almost sounds too real.