The weekly episodic nature of college football makes the sport ripe for analysis and, of course, over-analysis.
Don’t get us wrong. After a long offseason of predictions and projections, it’s nice to have a full week of results to sift through. Naturally, amateur buffs and professional pundits alike will try to draw long-term conclusions from the small sample size of the action we just witnessed.
Some of these, it is true, will actually turn out to be true. But generally speaking, overarching narratives shouldn’t be created yet after only 60 minutes of playtime.
Here are the top five overreactions from Week 1.
Ohio State is not the offensive giant we expected
First of all, credit must be given to the Notre Dame defense, a well-trained and disciplined unit that will lead the Fighting Irish to many wins this year. The absence of standout Buckeyes receiver Jaxon Smith-Njigba for most of the game also hampered the team’s ability to generate the kind of explosive plays we’ve come to expect from CJ Stroud’s group.
But the way the Buckeyes took over late with a strong ground game should be just as terrifying for the rest of the Big Ten. When you have multiple options to move the ball, your offense is even more dangerous.
BUCKEYES RALLY:No. 2 Ohio State uses two scores to topple Notre Dame
The Pac-12 is already out of the race for the playoffs
To be sure, the league took some hits, and the fact that they happened in featured games didn’t help the overall perception of the conference. What happened to Oregon will likely be a common occurrence for Georgia’s opponents this year, but it’s hard to see the Ducks making a serious effort after that result. Utah’s hopes aren’t completely dead after coming up short in Florida, but the margin for error is gone. Southern California went about its business in its mismatch with Rice, but the overall performance of the Trojans’ defense, despite their three pick-six, raised concerns about their ability to endure a 12-game slate.
That’s the key, of course: we’ve only seen one game of all. As of now, there simply aren’t enough data points to count the entire conference. But it’s undeniable that the Pac-12 has a lot of recent history to overcome, and Week 1 didn’t help.
WEEK 1 OBSERVATIONS:Impressive starts for Oklahoma, Arkansas
GROSS DEBUT:Kelly’s first game with LSU is spectacular.
UPS AND DOWNS:Week 1 College Football Winners and Losers
The ACC also has no playoff team.
Florida State restored some credibility Sunday in a win, albeit riddled with errors, against LSU. But there weren’t many other promising results in the rest of the league. Boston College and Virginia Tech were probably going to be mid-tier teams at best anyway, but their early non-conference setbacks won’t help the conference’s overall strength when numbers are compared later. Fortuitous escapes from North Carolina and NC State helped the league avoid total disaster, but nonetheless raised questions about its overall depth. But again, it was only Week 1. We haven’t seeded the field yet.
This playoff expansion is a bad idea.
Yes, that notion arose in the wake of Georgia’s dominant performance. Do we really want to create more blowouts in the early rounds of the playoffs?
The counterpoint is the number of compelling non-conference games we saw on the opening slate with more available in Week 2. Without the playoff expansion, we’ll see far fewer schools willing to hurt their chances by scheduling such high-profile contests. profile. A 12-team field would actually incentivize games like Utah-Florida or Pittsburgh-West Virginia, as the risk of losing would be mitigated by the promise of a seat at the table for winning their conference.
Let’s go to Alabama-Georgia
This is the related argument to the previous one, and well, the Crimson Tide and Bulldogs certainly looked good. Georgia’s handling of a ranked Oregon squad, arguably over-ranked but ranked anyway, might have been even more impressive than Alabama’s pro cover-up of clearly outmatched Utah State. However, there are many obstacles ahead. The SEC East looks tougher than expected given Florida’s successful debut, and the West remains formidable despite LSU’s tribulations.