TOP 25 TAKEAWAYS: The real loss for FSU; Same ol’ Texas mess
The anticipation for week one of the college football season can only be surpassed by the overreactions to week one of the college football season.
LOL, Tom Herman hype. Sam Darnold and No. 4 Southern California? Overrated. Florida? No quarterback. North Carolina State? Already a disappointment.
Most teams have played one game so far. Relax. The only thing we know for sure: Alabama is really good again, and losing to game to the top-ranked might have been the second-worst thing that happened to No. 3 Florida State.
The Top 25 thoughts, takedowns and takeaways from the first full-slate Saturday of the college football season.
1. Florida State could have recovered from simply losing to Alabama . The leg injury suffered late in the fourth quarter by quarterback Deondre Francois could ruin the Seminoles’ season. The backup is freshman James Blackman.
2. Even if Francois is not out long out long-term, the Seminoles need him back soon. No. 18 Miami comes to Tallahassee on Sept. 16. That’s not much time to develop a true freshman.
3. Herman’s Longhorns looked a lot like Charlie Strong’s Longhorns against Maryland. Terrible tackling. Messy special teams. Costly penalties. The Terps played the fourth quarter with a freshman backup quarterback and still put away the ranked-23rd-but-not-for-much-longer Longhorns, 51-41.
4. Quote from Herman: “Why can’t we get out of our own way?” Charlie Strong nods.
5. Herman wasn’t the only new coach in the Lone Star State to have rough debut. Matt Rhule and Baylor lost 48-45 to Liberty, which is transitioning from FCS to FBS. This could be an ugly year in Waco.
6. Maybe we should be paying a little more attention to the Terps? Second-year coach DJ Durkin’s team overachieved to get to a bowl game last season and showed that it might be taking another step forward to make the Big Ten East even tougher.
7. USC extended its winning streak to 10 games and in the end that’s all the really counts. P.J. Fleck-less Western Michigan gave the Trojans all they could handle, but USC pulled away 49-31.
8. Heisman favorite Darnold did not throw a touchdown pass — after throwing at least two in each game during USC’s nine-game winning streak last season — and the Trojans’ run defense got pounded by the Broncos. But like No. 2 Ohio State and No. 8 Washington, the highly ranked team separated in the second half. By November, those opening week struggles will be long forgotten.
9. The Heisman Trophy winner, however, was pretty great again. Just another 485 total yards for Lamar Jackson as No. 16 Louisville held off Purdue .
10. No. 17 Florida was missing its leading returning receiver and rusher because of suspensions, but it doesn’t excuse the woeful offensive performance in losing 33-17 to No. 11 Michigan . Coach Jim McElwain is still looking for a quarterback.
11. Another problem for Florida: This offensive line was supposed to take a step forward. Gators running backs carried 13 times for 29 yards.
12. Apparently, one defensive starter returning was all Michigan needed. Sophomores Devin Bush and Rashan Gary are ready to live up to their five-star pedigree.
13. Remember when Jim Harbaugh slept over at the house of a high school kicker he was recruiting ? That kicker, Quinn Nordin, made four field goals, including two from 50-plus.
14. Score one for the Southeastern Conference over the Atlantic Coast Conference, which was able to claim the title of best conference last season. South Carolina beat North Carolina State 35-28. The Wolfpack, loaded with upperclassmen, were a trendy pick to make some noise in the ACC.
15. Maybe South Carolina will be the team making some noise. The SEC East has no clear-cut favorite and South Carolina’s Jake Bentley might be the best quarterback in the division.
16. The showcase game for Wyoming’s Josh Allen against Iowa did not do much to justify the quarterback’s hype. The 6-foot-5, 235-pound late-bloomer, who NFL scouts will be watching closely, was 23 for 40 for 174 yards and two interceptions in a 24-3 loss to the Hawkeyes . Allen didn’t get much help from his teammates, but he now has thrown seven picks in two games against Big Ten teams the last two seasons.
17. Hard to draw any conclusions against Kent State, but Kelly Bryant did nothing at all to make Clemson fans worry about the fifth-ranked Tigers’ new starting quarterback in a 56-3 victory . Next up for the defending champs: No. 12 Auburn and No .16 Louisville.
18. Saquon Barkley’s Heisman Trophy campaign got off to a solid start with 172 yards and two touchdowns on just 14 carries as No. 6 Penn State beat Akron 52-0. The Nittany Lions have scored at least 35 points in eight straight games.
19. In other Heisman contender news: Oklahoma’s Baker Mayfield tuned up for next week’s road trip to No. 2 Ohio State by completing his first 16 passes and going 19 for 20 for 329 yards and three touchdowns in the first half of the seventh-ranked Sooners’ 56-7 victory against UTEP .
20. Also, prepping for a week two showdown was Notre Dame. The Fighting Irish had three 100-yard rushers while beating Temple 49-16 . No. 15 Georgia comes to South Bend, Indiana, next week.
21. Interesting development with Georgia. Jacob Eason went out with an injured knee early against Appalachian State. The Bulldogs rolled behind freshman Jake Fromm , who Kirby Smart was hoping to redshirt. Smart said Eason’s knee was sprained. There is likely to some QB intrigue in Athens this week.
22. When quarterbacks transfer, the perception of them seems to get better. For those who thought former LSU quarterback Brandon Harris, a big-time recruit, would be finally reach his potential at North Carolina, not a good start. Harris went 7 for 16 for 60 yards and two interceptions as the Tar Heels lost 35-30 to California . Chazz Surratt is likely to be the starter going forward for UNC.
23. Notre Dame transfer Malik Zaire did not look like the answer for Florida, either, but Auburn’s first game with Baylor transfer Jarrett Stidham went well. He had two TD passes and a scoring run in a rout of Georgia Southern .
24. FCS scares: No. 19 USF needed a fourth-quarter push to beat Stony Brook 31-17 . Pitt needed overtime to beat Bo Pelini and Youngstown State, 28-21 . Oregon State needed a wide-right field goal attempt to escape Portland State, 35-32.
25. Illinois avoided an embarrassing opening loss at home to Ball State with a come-from-behind 24-21 win . Coach Lovie Smith’s Illini might wrestle the title of worst Power Five team from Rutgers this season. The Scarlet Knights visit Illinois on Oct. 14, so save the date.
Follow Ralph D. Russo at www.Twitter.com/ralphDrussoAP