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2021 College Football Week 1 Recap

By Hank Blaine

The first Saturday of college football is in the books. Top SEC teams threw down the gauntlet while three of the top five disappointed. Check out how Alabama and Georgia showed how the SEC again owns college football, why we must hold off on declaring Oklahoma the second best team in the nation, and why Clemson will require a couple of games to hit their stride.

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College Football Week 1 Recap: SEC Powers Bama and UGA Win Big Games

Alabama doesn’t miss a beat

Heading into #1 Alabama versus #14 Miami, many thought the Crimson Tide might struggle. After all, Bama had lost their starting quarterback, their Heisman Trophy winning wide receiver, their top running back, and their offensive coordinator. College football fans should have known better. Once again, Alabama is on a different level than the rest of the NCAAF. The Tide rolled over the Canes 44-13.

Quarterback Bryce Young threw for 344 yards and 4 TDs. Bama held Miami quarterback D’Eriq King to 178 yards, a TD, and 2 INTs. What’s scary is that Young, the best high school dual-threat quarterback in 2019, didn’t even rush the ball. He sat in the pocket and picked apart a Miami defense that was supposed to the strength of Manny Diaz’s squad. Bama, like in most seasons, is the best college football team in the nation. Yes, we can say that after a single game.

#5 Georgia upsets #3 Clemson in Charlotte

The second best team in college football are the SEC East Georgia Bulldogs. Kirby Smart’s squad played unbelievable defense to pull off a 10-3 victory over Dabo Swinney’s Clemson Tigers. The lone touchdown happened after Christopher Smith intercepted Clemson quarterback D.J. Uiagalelei’s errant pass and ran it back 74 yards. Clemson never recovered. Georgia sacked Uagalelei seven time.

The Bulldogs defense looks like the best in the nation, but before singing their praises further, we must realize Clemson’s offensive line is young. It has yet to gel, which means the Tigers should get better. Georgia’s defense stood up to this first test. The offense struggled. The Dawgs are the second best team in the nation after a week. But although the offense showed nothing, UGA should hold the position until at least Oct. 9 when they travel to Auburn.

Oklahoma and Ohio State struggle

The Sooners and Buckeyes notched victories. Both had to work hard to pull off the wins. Of the two, Ohio State looks like the better team. The Buckeyes pushed as a -14 chalk on the road versus the Minnesota Golden Gophers. If Minnesota running back Mohammed Ibrahim hadn’t gotten hurt in the second half, who knows? The Gophers may have closed out the Buckeyes.

In the second half, Minnesota had a lead. But Ibrahim, who rushed for 163 yards, suffered the injury, Ohio State quarterback C.J. Stroud got hot, and the Buckeyes beat Minnesota 45-31. It took Ohio State some time to show they’re a good team. Oklahoma didn’t show they can hang with Alabama or Georgia. Oklahoma struggled against Tulane, a team they were favored to beat by 32 points. Sooner quarterback Spencer Rattler threw for 304 yards and a TD. Rattler, the Heisman Trophy favorite, also tossed 2 INTs. Rattler didn’t have a great game.

The Sooners’ defense had a worse game. Oklahoma allow Tulane to post 35 points in the difficult to understand 40-35 Oklahoma victory. The loss should propel Texas A&M, 41-10 winners over Kent State, and Cincinnati, 49-14 victors against Miami-Ohio to third and fourth.

UCLA beats LSU, Penn State outlasts Wisconsin

In a couple of other important games, Chip Kelly and the UCLA Bruins upset #16 LSU 38-27. The game happened in the Rose Bowl. Not only that, but LSU obviously isn’t as good as advertised. So the upset shouldn’t surprise us too much. #19 Penn State’s 19-12 win over #12 Wisconsin should impress. The Nittany Lions take on Ohio State on Oct. 30. If they keep this up, they can beat the Buckeyes and win the Big Ten East.

Penn State’s defense pressured Wisconsin QB Graham Mertz all game. Lions’ quarterback Sean Clifford showed why you want a senior under center. Clifford wasn’t spectacular versus Wisconsin’s talented secondary. But he didn’t make a mistake and threw for enough yards, 247, and a TD to win the game. Penn State is for real. The defense held the Badgers to 3 yards per carry. Keep the Nittany Lions on your radar.

Ole Miss versus Louisville on Monday night

Mississippi head coach Lane Kiffin won’t be on the sidelines when the Rebels take on the Louisville Cardinals on Sep. 6. Kiffin tested positive for COVID, which means he must quarantine.

The Rebels are one of those SEC teams who should have a puncher’s shot to upset A&M and Bama in the SEC West. Make sure to see how Ole Miss responds without their head coach. If the Rebels rout the Cardinals, a real possibility, give Kiffin and his squad a shot to at least cover when they face Alabama on Oct. 2 and Texas A&M on Nov. 13.

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