Janis: What I learned from Week 1 of College Football


Kiffer Creveling

University of Utah junior defensive back Julian Blackmon (23) tackles Weber State University sophomore wide receiver Isiah Jackson (81) during an NCAA Football game at Rice Eccles Stadium in Salt Lake City, Utah on Thursday, Aug. 30, 2018. (Photo by Kiffer Creveling | The Daily Utah Chronicle)

By Zach Janis

This past weekend, college football fans across the nation were treated to the opening weekend of the season, with games galore from Thursday to Sunday. The University of Utah kicked off the season on Thursday with a win, but for once, I won’t be talking about Utah football. I want to discuss some of the other interesting tidbits I found as I sat on my couch, ate profuse amounts of barbecue wings, and celebrated my favorite day of the year.

There Goes Miami

On a rare Sunday game, the Miami Hurricanes matched up with the Tigers of Louisiana State University. Despite being ranked 8th in the nation, the Hurricanes went down 27-3 at the half, and 25th-ranked LSU was able to close out a lopsided victory, 33-17. Miami was a fringe hope to make the College Football Playoff, and with this loss, I’d count them out of the mix. Good news for Notre Dame.

Speaking of Notre Dame…

This may be a championship year for the Fighting Irish, who opened their season on Saturday with a win over the Wolverines of Michigan at home. Notre Dame, ranked 12th in AP polls after a strong campaign last year, made relatively easy work of the Jim Harbaugh-coached Wolverines, a team in dismay after their first two-loss season under the former NFL coach.

Lamar Jackson was way better than anyone gave him credit for

The Louisville Cardinals found themselves at a loss on Saturday, as they opened 2018 against the reigning national champion Alabama Crimson Tide. The Tide walked all over the Cardinals’ defense en route to a statement win, 51-17. Recent NFL first-round and 2016 Heisman winner Lamar Jackson is already sorely missed in his alma mater, as his career in the NFL has him more properly set up for success as a future starter for the Baltimore Ravens. After being the odd man out in the stellar group of quarterbacks taken at the draft, it’s very apparent already that he was the centerpiece of the Cardinal’s offence. They were good because he was there, and that fact should keep them out of a ranked position for most of the year.

Utah is for real. Arizona is not.

Alright, maybe I can’t avoid talking about Utah. But how can you not after a performance like that? They stomped Weber State in their home opener, while Arizona lost at home to the Cougars of Brigham Young University. How you lose to a team coming off a 4-9 season with an almost 25-year-old quarterback, despite having a dark horse Heisman candidate under center, is beyond me. But Arizona finds a way. Tate should already be out of the talk for Heisman. He played pretty sloppily for a guy with that kind of hype.

USC is still a big, fat, resounding question mark for everyone that’s playing them

Sure, University of Southern California won their home opener by 22 against University of Nevada, Las Vegas. But if we’re speaking honestly, what did we learn from that? UNLV was vastly outmatched for the entire game, but they also would have been in similar circumstances last year. What Utah fans need to watch for in USC is how they adapt to tougher opponents and defenses that really challenge JT Daniels, their true freshman quarterback. Hopefully, Utah will have an answer to that question before the Trojans come to Rice Eccles.

Washington Lost. Rejoice!

Don’t get me wrong, I’m all for close, fierce competition within conferences. It’s what makes football so spectacularly amazing to watch. But Utah is looking to take the Pac-12 for the first time since joining it in 2011. With that loss, the Huskies, more likely than not, are out of the CFB playoff picture. That puts them more within the reach of a Utah team looking to make their claim.

Aside from a few close losses, Week 1 was largely a blowout fest. What can you expect when you have University of Central Florida play University of Connecticut? The waves will settle as the season progresses, but for now, rejoice in one simple fact: college football is back!

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