College football week 0 is in the books. After every week fans can take away things from what happened on the field. Here are 5 things learned from college football week 0.
1. Scott Frost‘s Seat is Scorching Hot
As mentioned in the things to watch for the week, Frost needed to right the ship at Nebraska after suffering three straight losing seasons. After week 0, Frost’s job security just got a little more unclear. Nebraska suffered a loss to Illinois in the opening game 30-22. While the game looked close, it didn’t tell the full story of how awful Nebraska played.
The scoring started for Illinois on a punt return gone awry that turned into a safety. Nebraska then was able to get a 9-2 lead. They allowed an Illinois touchdown and then right before the half, quarterback Adrian Martinez fumbled and the Illini were able to return it for a touchdown. In the second half, backup quarterback Artur Sitkowski threw two touchdown passes after filling in for the injured Brandon Peters. Nebraska scored again to make it close, but Illinois killed the clock.
It is hard not to overreact to the loss for a few reasons. Illinois was projected to finish near the bottom of the Big Ten. They were a team Nebraska needed to beat if they wished to go to a bowl game this season. Now, it is still possible, but the road will be tougher. On top of that, Nebraska didn’t look ready to play. There were some bad mistakes and Martinez wasn’t sharp under center for the Cornhuskers. Scott Frost has to pull off a massive turnaround this season in order to be safe.
2. UCONN Should be Prepared for a Long Road Ahead
UConn is one of the few schools that jumped from one conference to the other for basketball reasons. After joining the Big East, which doesn’t feature any football schools, they were forced to drop out of the AAC for football. They are now an independent and don’t appear like they have high hopes for the football program. The school previously went to a BCS bowl in 2011, but times have changed.
In their first game of the season, UConn was dismantled against a superior Fresno State team. There weren’t many positives for the Huskies at all, as they fell, 45-0. Unfortunately, things will only get harder for UConn as an independent. The scheduling, recruitng and program building are all things they need to do well, but it is very rare for an independent (other than Notre Dame and BYU) to do so.
3. UCLA Can Compete in the Pac-12 South
UCLA was the most impressive team in week 0. They controlled the game from start to finish against Hawaii and won 44-10. While Hawaii isn’t the same level of competition that UCLA will be playing in the Pac-12, they are no slouches either. The Warriors won 10 games two seasons ago and went 5-4 last season.
Chip Kelly won his first non-conference game at UCLA with the win, but more importantly than that, the Bruins played good football. Running back Zach Charbonnet, the transfer from Michigan, ran the ball six times for 106 yards and three touchdowns. Quarterback Dorian Thompson-Robinson didn’t have his best game, but he didn’t need to. UCLA even blocked a punt and scored a touchdown off of it to show their prowess. The game provided about as good of an opener as Kelly could have hoped for.
4. UTEP Could Potentially Make a Bowl Game
It hasn’t been easy in Dana Dimel’s time at UTEP, as he has won just five games in three seasons leading up to this year. Things started off great for the Miners this season though, as they defeated their rivals, the New Mexico State Aggies, 30-3. This win provides momentum for what could be a year that UTEP gets things going in the right direction.
Starting the season off 1-0 gives UTEP plenty of time to get to bowl eligibility. They could start the season off at 4-1 with upcoming games against Bethune-Cookman (FCS), Boise State (a likely loss), New Mexico and Old Dominion. From there the schedule gets a little tougher, but UTEP is fully capable of getting some wins and getting to a bowl game.
5. Nick Starkel Will Have SJSU Competing for the MWC Again
Last season, San Jose State took a big step forward as a program. They went 7-1, winning the MWC. Their only loss of the season came in the Arizona Bowl against Ball State. After the big season last year, San Jose State started off this year with a good win against Southern Utah, 45-14.
In the game, quarterback Nick Starkel shined as he passed for 394 yards and four touchdowns. His play is what propelled the team to a great season in 2020 and he can do the same in 2021. It will be hard to repeat as MWC champions, but if Starkel can keep playing well, they’ll have a shot.
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