Josh Rosen, Alabama, Quarterback Injuries. Pac-12: What Mattered In Week 1?
From the Pac-12’s big weekend, to the quarterback injuries, to Alabama’s dominance, to Josh Rosen’s big night, here’s what mattered in Week 1
Week 1 Roundup
5. The Biggest Weekend Was A Dud (until Sunday)
Week 1 was like getting soap for Christmas. Yeah, it’s fine, and yeah, it’s useful, and yeah, you even sort of like it. But you were hoping for so, so much more.
It’s okay to say it. You wanted a pony.
Considering this was built up as the Greatest Opening Weekend Ever, the biggest of big games on Saturday weren’t even close to being all that interesting.
Sunday? Sunday made up for it with Texas A&M vs. UCLA and West Virginia vs. Virginia Tech turning in classics. But it would’ve been nice if the other big games lived up to the hype.
Florida obviously didn’t have any offensive answers for Michigan – who did its best to keep the Gators in the game early.
Alabama went Alabama and cranked up the defense, while the FSU D did its part to keep it close in a 24-7 win for Nick Saban. Once the Crimson Tide special teams kicked it in, it was over.
The Wolverines and Gators never got going because of – it seems – all the Florida suspensions and the loss of a few key offensive players, while the Bama win might have been impressive in a brutally efficient sort of way, except for …
4. Major Quarterback Injuries
Georgia didn’t have any problems handling Appalachian State, but that wasn’t the story. QB Jacob Eason injured his knee while falling awkwardly out of bounds, and while Jake Fromm stepped in and way okay, this is a Bulldog team good enough to take the SEC East with ease.
Lose Eason, and the potential dream season – and next week’s game against Notre Dame – will be turned over to a freshman.
There’s still hope for Eason to be fine, but Florida State suffered a massive body blow by losing QB Deondre Francois for the season.
Alabama had the game relatively in hand in the fourth quarter when Francois was tackle from behind and crumpled in pain. Sunday it was confirmed that he suffered a knee injury and would be out for the season.
Georgia might be thinking SEC East title – and hoping for more – but FSU is expecting an ACC championship and a spot in the College Football Playoff, even with the loss to Alabama. Losing the leader and rising star might derail that with a whole slew of tough games coming up.
While some big-time teams lost their big-time quarterbacks, the weekend quickly became about …
3. Josh Rosen
Sort of lost in the greatness of Rosen’s performance in the epic 45-44 Bruin win was 1) UCLA was shoved around at will for about 40 minutes, 2) caught about 127 massive breaks along the way, and 3) needed Rosen to bail the team out because the run defense was so miserable.
Even so, for sheer amazement and fantastic theater, Rosen came up with an all-timer, completing 35-of-59 passes for 491 yards and four scores, and one special – and sort of unnecessary, considering the clock stopped – clock play for the game-winning touchdown.
While the Bruins are too mediocre and the schedule too tough for Rosen to likely win the Heisman, at the very least, he’s at the top of the charts for one week.
Thanks to his performance, it was the …
2. Pac-12’s Giant Weekend
It was one of the underappreciated storylines of last season – the Pac-12 was awful, but still managed to get Washington into the College Football Playoff and USC into the Rose Bowl.
Part of the problem was a bad Oregon team – which started out the Willie Taggart era on Saturday by putting 77 on the board against Southern Utah – and injuries across the Pac-12 South to Arizona, Arizona State and UCLA.
To start out 2017, Sun Devils were rocky against New Mexico State, and the Bruins certainly had their issues, but they won. Arizona hammered Northern Arizona by running wild, and everyone else in the conference seemed to have fun, too.
USC struggled but still won by double digits over Western Michigan. Washington wasn’t great in a blowout win over Rutgers, and Utah could’ve been better in the win over North Dakota.
Whatever … winning, winning, winning.
Helped by Cal’s win at North Carolina and Washington State finally beating an FCS team to start a season, the Pac-12 went 11-0 this weekend. Oregon State’s season-opening loss to Colorado State last week has been the only blemish – the league is 12-1 so far.
It was the start the conference needed to have to make a big national splash. However, as good as the Pac-12 was, as amazing as Clemson and Oklahoma were, and as tough as the top Big Ten teams played …
1. Alabama Is Still Alabama
It’s like watching a Floyd Mayweather fight. You know what’s going to happen, and you’re hoping for something interesting. However, you’re forced to be impressed by the precision and brilliance – even if it’s a tad dry.
Florida State is loaded with NFL talent. All of the starting defensive backs should be playing on Sunday next weekend instead of hanging around in college, and they’re just the start of the skill and speed across the board.
The Noles hung around with Alabama, and there wasn’t anything easy about the win for the nation’s No. 1 team, but it was still a 24-7 victory over the No. 3 team in college football.
And now, the regular season might be over for a while.
The Crimson Tide get all of the tough games – LSU, Tennessee, Arkansas at home – with only a road game at Texas A&M to worry about until the regular season finale at Auburn. It’s another year, it’s another time to discuss The Process, and it’s another season to wonder who might be able to go Deshaun Watson on the right day to topple the empire.
Hint, it might just be Clemson again if it keeps playing like it did against Kent State.