Tuesday, April 24, 2018
Sports

Nation in a snap: College football contenders, pretenders in Week 1

By the numbers

7 Touchdowns (six passing, one rushing) credited to Ohio State QB J.T. Barrett, a Buckeyes single-game record.

11 Consecutive years a Mid-American Conference team has beaten one from the Big Ten after Western Michigan's 22-21 win over Northwestern.

4 LSU players with at least 3,000 career rushing yards; Leonard Fournette joined Kevin Faulk, Dalton Hilliard and Charles Alexander in the club.

21 Consecutive ACC games Georgia Tech had scored at least 20 points before only putting up 17 against Boston College.

52 Points scored by Illinois against Murray State in Lovie Smith's debut as head coach

54 Points scored by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers over Smith's final three games last season

407 Passing yards by Texas Tech QB Patrick Mahomes … in the first half (against Stephen F. Austin)

3 Quarterbacks used by Auburn against No. 2 Clemson

Contenders

The Big Ten's big boys: Neither Michigan nor Ohio State faced much competition, but outscoring opponents 140-13 is still impressive for teams with hopes of coming to Tampa. New Wolverines starting quarterback Wilton Speight (right) looked legit (10-of-13, three TDs), and Ohio State didn't seem to miss the 12 Buckeyes drafted last spring.

No. 14 Washington: The Huskies have earned buzz as a potential Pac-12 (and playoff) hopeful. It's hard to tell too much from a win over Rutgers, but putting up 24 points in the first quarter is a good start.

No. 18 Georgia: The Kirby Smart era opened impressively. True freshman Jacob Easton (8-of-12 passing) looked every bit like a five-star recruit. Add in the early-season struggles of Tennessee and Florida, and the SEC East might run through Athens.

Pretenders

No. 3 Oklahoma: We've seen these stumbles before from Bob Stoops' recent Sooners. The last three times they opened the season in the top five, they failed to win more than 10 games each year and finished outside the top 14 each time.

SEC West: Popular playoff pick LSU stumbled at Lambeau Filed against Wisconsin. Expectations weren't high at Mississippi State, but a 21-20 loss to the Sun Belt's South Alabama isn't a good way to begin the post-Dak Prescott era. Arkansas needed a fourth-quarter rally to squeak by Louisiana Tech. Though Texas A&M pulled out an overtime win against UCLA, the Aggies were outgained 221-23 in the fourth quarter.

L.A. teams: UCLA star QB Josh Rosen threw three interceptions and couldn't complete the comeback at Texas A&M. No. 20 USC, meanwhile, imploded after a strong start against No. 1 Alabama. A shaky Pac-12 South won't help a conference trying to avoid being kept out of the playoff for a second straight year.

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