Things are starting to feel a little more normal in the college football universe, right? The SEC kicks off next week, the Big 10 have announced a schedule and UCF have beaten a Power Five team to get their season rolling.
With the SEC on the horizon, this week gave some airtime to some of the more prominent ACC teams, but also the likes of Oklahoma, who stuttered to a win against Tulsa in their first game of the season.
But it’s in Orlando that we kick off our winners and losers this week, with the newly proclaimed, ‘best team in Florida’.
A new season, but the same hype at UCF. The Knights came into the game ranked 14th in the nation, but up against a Georgia Tech team that had beaten Florida State the previous week. An opening drive salvo from Jeff Sims had UCF down 7, but in truth this was the only time that the result looked in any doubt. Quarterback, Dillon Gabriel looked dominant under centre, throwing for 417 yards and 4 TDs, with Otis Anderson, Marlon Williams and Jaylon Robinson all contributing heavily to a 49-21 victory.
The marquee game of the weekend schedule saw the Hurricanes host ACC rivals Louisville and the promising Micale Cunningham. After a season opener which saw Miami QB, D’Eriq King proved he could run the ball with the best of them, the Heisman contender took over the game with his arm. King threw for 325 yards and 3 TDs, but it was running back Cam’ron Harris who stole the show with a 75 yard TD run, capped with a dive into the end zone. The Canes’ strong start to the season makes them 9.5 point favourites over FSU in what is always an emotionally charged matchup.
Brendan Knox – RB, Marshall
After all the hype we’ve given App State on the podcast in recent weeks, it felt like a chance for them to prove themselves against a Marshall team who had started the season in reasonable form. Instead, Marshall scrapped their way to a 17-7 upset. The key player on offense for the Thundering Herd was Running Back, Brandan Knox. With a freshman Quarterback stuttering at times, Knox ran the ball 28 times for 138 yards and TD to cement the upset victory.
Now I’m not saying Marshall are a bad team…but Appalachian State are 11-2 and 13-1 in their last two seasons. How do they only put up 7 points against a very clearly overmatched Marshall? While only 1-1 on the season now this isn’t a good start for The Mountaineers they require some real changes if they’re wanting to make it to the post season this year. Hopefully their week 3 tilt against Campbell will prove more fruitful and App State can get back to winning ways.
This one was unexpected, when Spencer Sanders exited the game early with an injury Cowboy’s fan certainly had reason to be worried. With guys like Chubba Hubbard and Tylan Wallace still left on the field you expected the Cowboys to make some plays but this wasn’t the case as we saw very limited effectiveness from the offence until the 4th quarter. Mike Gundy’s team hung on by the skin of their teeth due to some really poor clock management and penalties from Tulsa. Hopefully next week Oklahoma State can get their heads together as they come up against a very strong West Virginia team.
While we got confirmation of the Big Ten finally going ahead with a season there’s one team that is slightly less enthused after seeing their schedule. With an away opener to Big Ten favourite Ohio State before playing host to the Big Ten West favourites Wisconsin it feels like Nebraska are really regretting how hard they campaigned to get football back for themselves. While “Cornhusker’s Twitter” has been having a complete meltdown over their openers it does look a little unfair that they are playing 5 pre-season top 25’s to Ohio State’s 2. Personally I think it’s penance for Nebraska’s tantrum upon the original suspension of the Big Ten season. Good luck Cornhuskers, you’re going to need it.