College football week 1 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 1.
1. College Football Needs to Maintain Rivalries
Thursday night of week 1 featured a great rivalry, the Backyard Brawl. It hadn’t been played for 11 years, but it delivered. After Pittsburgh tied the game up at 31, West Virginia tried to drive down the field and win the game. A pass from JT Daniels went through wide receiver Bryce Ford-Wheaton’s hands, which Pittsburgh then returned for a touchdown. West Virginia almost recovered and scored a game-tying touchdown, but a pass on fourth and 16 was ruled incomplete.
Not only was it a great game that came down to the wire, but the energy around the game was electric. A game that featured a regional rivalry that both fans were able to attend created a great atmosphere. Conference realignment has taken some rivalries away, but keeping as many rivalries as possible going forward is important.
2. Marcus Freeman was the Right Hire for Notre Dame
Brian Kelly left Notre Dame following the end of last season. Notre Dame could’ve gone in a few different directions, but decided to promote defensive coordinator Marcus Freeman to head coach. He has already hit the recruiting trail hard, boasting the fourth-best class in the 2023 class according to 247 Sports. Now he has also proven to be a decent in-game coach, as Notre Dame played Ohio State tough in Columbus.
Even though the Fighting Irish lost a close game, they had a good gameplan. Had quarterback Tyler Buchner been able to hit more receivers in the second half, the game could’ve been closer than the 11-point margin that was the difference. Notre Dame may not be with the elite teams quite yet, but Freeman is on the right track.
3. Florida can do Damage this Season
Florida fans were screaming that the sky was falling this offseason, as new head coach Billy Napier wasn’t recruiting at the level they wanted. That has since settled down and after game one of the Napier-era, Florida fans are likely happy. The Gators were able to beat Utah in week 1, 29-26.
One of the major reasons that Florida was able to win the game was the play of Anthony Richardson. He was always a good athlete with a strong arm, but against the Utes he was also protecting the football and accurate with it. If he can keep this up, his play could lead Florida to a better destination this season than maybe they ever thought possible.
4. The SEC is the Best Conference
The SEC has often been regarded as the best conference in college football and they had a strong opening weekend. Georgia destroyed Oregon in one of the marquee games of the opening weekend. Florida, as mentioned, upset Utah. Arkansas defeated a tough Cincinnati team.
In just about every major matchup, the SEC thrived. Their only big blemish was LSU losing to Florida State, but it appears that the Tigers may finish near the bottom of the SEC this season. With plenty of CFP contenders and solid teams, the SEC is on another level this season.
5. College Football is the Best Sport
Diehard fans already know this, but week 1 delivered a great reminder. Ohio State and Notre Dame played a close game between two historic programs. Florida upset a top 10 team. Houston defeated UTSA in three overtimes. NC State won on a missed field goal by East Carolina as time expired.
On top of that, Florida State and LSU played in one of the craziest games in recent memory on Sunday night. LSU muffed two punts, had a field goal blocked and an extra point blocked. They still had a chance to win the game after a 99-yard touchdown drive before the extra point was blocked to end the game. There is nowhere else that things like this can happen. It is a fun, passionate and sometimes dumb sport that can’t be topped.
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