...and breathe! Week 0 gave us a phenomenal game in Nebraska-Northwestern, but Week 1 provided chaos from the noon slate across the state of North Carolina all the way to the evening games - most notably in Gainesville at the Swamp. With some major upsets, close calls, and blowouts (see Oregon-Georgia), there are inevtiably going to be a lot of overreactions between fans and the books. Lines will overcompensate for performances in Week 1 - and it's hard not to. Here are my biggest overreactions and takeaways - I'll let you determine which is which! Feel free to comment below or engage with me on twitter @RickHHSports with your thoughts!
The Pac-12 won't make the CFP again
The west-coast came into this season with some of the biggest hype we've seen around them in the CFP era. With 3 potential CFP teams in Oregon, Utah, and USC, there was talks that with one of those teams going 12-1 or 13-0 we'd finally see a representative for the first time since 2016. With only 2 teams making the CFP over the 8 years in existence, there is no question who the weakest of the Power-5 conferences is and explains why their best teams have been poached to other conferences.
Still, the Pac-12 had the chance to beat their chest and show the world they belong on Saturday as Utah traveled to Florida and Oregon visited Atlanta to take on the Bulldogs. Unfortunately, both trips wen't terribly. The Ducks weren't expected to contest all that much as they entered as 16 point underdogs, but quickly showed they didn't belong in the same stratosphere as the Bulldogs as they were walloped 49-3. Dominated in every facet of the game, it's hard to tell how bad the Ducks were and just how good the Bulldogs are. It's probably a bit of both, but one thing is for certain - the Ducks aren't CFP players.
Traveling a few hours south to Gainesville, the books and fans alike knew this would be close with Utah closing as a very short favorite. Unable to stop the run game of Florida all night, the Gators ripped Utah for 283 yards on the ground with the biggest play being a 45 yard touchdown run by Anthony Richardson. Even so, Cam Rising and the Utah offense gave themselves every chance to win the game with 446 yards of offense, but it came down to 2 1st-and-goals from inside the 5-yard line that turned into 0 points that cost them this game. On another day this could've gone the Utes way, but in a game the Pac-12 desperately needed they came up just short.
Now with 2 losses to their 3 biggest teams, the Pac-12 will need one of the teams to go perfect throughout the remainder of the season and I just don't see that happening. Utah plays both USC and Oregon, and while the Trojans don't face Oregon they do get their usual date with Notre Dame to end the season. I don't see any of these teams being dominant enough to win out and then capitalize in the conference championship, so I see them missing out as the CFP looks locked and loaded with Ohio State, Alabama, Georgia, and one more team.
Phelan Ebenhack - AP
The ACC will contend with the Pac-12 as the worst Power-5 Conference
Florida State and Clemson have still yet to play, but otherwise has there been a worse showing across the board than in the ACC? North Carolina has faced Appalachian State and Florida A&M and allowed 85 points, and while everyone expected their defense to be bad, nobody could've expected them to be this bad. Gene Chizik will have his work cut out to get that defense competitive and try to make a bowl game. Rivals North Carolina State were gifted a victory at East Carolina after a missed extra point and field goal late from the Pirates ended what should've been their biggest upset in years.
Elsewhere the Louisville Cardinals came in with one of the best QBs on paper in Malik Cunningham, but mustered just 7 points against Syracuse in the dome. Cunningham threw for only 152 yeards, turning the ball over thrice and registering 0 touchdowns. Rutgers managed to squeak out a 1 point victory in Boston as 8.5 point underdogs. Overall, it was a poor, poor showing for teams that were expected to either be contenders or solid bowl teams in the conference, and the ACC will need a good showing from Florida State Sunday night against LSU and domination from Clemson Monday to give people hope that all is not lost.
Ethan Hyman - The Observer
The Big Ten will end the season with 3 ranked teams
Wisconsin, Michigan and Ohio State. Those are the three teams that are levels above the rest of the league and will continue to show it throughout the year. The only other contender is Michigan State, and I don't believe in the Spartans to notch enough wins to keep themselves relevant by the end of the season. Before deep-diving into them, are there any other potential teams? The closest options would be Northwestern, Penn State, or Iowa and none of the three have the quality to win more than 8 games in my opinion.
The Spartans won comfortably against Western Michigan to nobody's surprise and face Akron at home in week 2. Assuredly 2-0, they then travel to Spokane to face Washington in what will be a massive litmus test for both sides. Say they win that game in week3, they then get potentially tricky tests against Minnesota and Maryland before facing Ohio State in October. I sincerely doubt they're perfect going into that Ohio State game. I think they'll trip up somewhere and go in 4-1, and leave the Ohio State game with 2 losses. Dont worry Spartans fans because you're gifted Wisconsin and then Michigan afterwards. As a doubter in Michigan State's offense, I don't think they keep up with either and finish that stretch 4-4. You need to go perfect after that including the bowl game to finish in the Top-25 and I just don't think that's feasible. The Big Ten has some great teams in it, but they lack the depth in the conference that others have.