The highly anticipated opening week of the college football season was as entertaining as any in recent memory. Big games, upsets, and impressive player performances proved that this is going to be another very entertaining football year.
Though Week 1 left many question marks for the remainder of the upcoming season, some certainties emerged after the first weekend of play.
Here’s what we learned from Week 1:
Teddy Bridgewater is the front-runner for the Heisman Trophy
With Johnny Manziel winning the coveted Heisman Trophy last season as a freshman, it would be easy to believe that “Johnny Football” would be the clear-cut favorite to win college football’s most prestigious award again. But Louisville quarterback Teddy Bridgewater just surpassed Manziel after his performance in Week 1.
In Louisville’s season opener against Ohio, Bridgewater catapulted his Heisman stock by throwing for 355 yards and five touchdowns in a 49-7 victory. Saying that Bridgewater is the clear-cut favorite to win the Heisman after only one week may be a quick assumption, but the way he was finding his targets and squeezing the ball into tight spaces puts him at the top of the list.
Clemson is ready for the spotlight
Clemson is accustomed high expectations on a yearly basis. Unfortunately, Tiger fans are also accustomed to disappointment.
While the college football world was waiting for Clemson to execute its annual “yeah, but” performance against Georgia on Saturday night, the Tigers avoided disaster and proved they were a BCS National Championship contender.
This was arguably the biggest game of the season for Clemson and it came the first week of action. After a victory over the Bulldogs, Dabo Swinney’s crew has two of the most dangerous weapons in the sport: confidence and momentum.
The football field can’t change Johnny Manziel
Did you think a first half suspension against Rice would change Johnny Manziel’s behavior? If you did, you were wrong.
Taunting defenders, on-field celebrations, and ignoring his head coach, Kevin Sumlin, kept last year’s Heisman Trophy winner in spotlight of negativity again this week.
Perhaps Manziel has decided to accept and embrace the persona of college football’s “bad boy” following all of the offseason scrutiny he was faced with this summer. One thing is for sure, old “Johnny Football” is on the path of becoming the world’s next Ryan Leaf and it doesn’t seem to bother him.
Oregon can still score
With Chip Kelly heading to the NFL, the big question surrounding Oregon was whether it would still be able to score at will. The Ducks proved their offense is just as potent without Kelly at the helm, as they put up 66 points against Nicholls State.
Though Oregon wasn’t exactly squaring off against a college football juggernaut, scoring anything over 52 points is an impressive offensive performance regardless of the opponent..
The schedule will get much more daunting for Oregon in the coming weeks, but I expect to see the scoreboard lit up early and often no matter who the Ducks are playing.
Northwestern is the Big Ten’s dark horse
I know this sounds like a broken record, but the Big Ten better be ready for Northwestern this season. The Wildcats have shifted from the laughing stock of the conference to a recurring threat to the power teams of the Big Ten.
A big win on the road against Cal has confirmed that Northwestern has a legitimate shot to win the Legends Division and get to Indianapolis for the Big Ten Championship Game come December.
The offense is certainly capable of winning many games this year, the question mark lies in Northwestern’s defense.
Alabama is still the team to beat
A 35-10 win over Virginia Tech verified what we were pretty sure of anyway: Alabama is still the best team in college football.
As much as Nick Saban will say “we’ve got a long way to go,” the truth is, the Crimson Tide are already there. And if Alabama wasn’t good enough, there are only two teams on its schedule currently ranked in the AP Top 25 poll.
As much as folks want to see the SEC reign of dominance come to a screeching halt, it looks like the Crimson Tide will be college football’s first team to win three-straight national titles.
There is no such thing as an “easy win”
Oregon State didn’t to seem to learn a lesson from Michigan or Virginia Tech, as the Beavers become the third FBS team ranked in the AP Top 25 to lose to an FCS opponent, as the Beavers fell to Eastern Washington 49-46.
It just goes to show that records, divisions, conferences, statistics and anything else you can put on paper can be thrown out the window in this sport.