Week 1's Top 10: Alabama Starts Off Playing Like Champs, not Runners-Up
- Saturday's slate of action gave us a long first look at most of this year's best teams. How do the top 10 in the country stack up after one showing?
Even though Week 1 isn’t officially wrapped up, with a few games still remaining on Sunday and Monday, we’re going to break out our Week 1 Top 10 at the end of Saturday’s action, as Alabama made a strong statement while the Oklahoma schools produced lots of offensive fireworks and the Buckeyes found a new stud running back.
1. Alabama: The Tide capitalized on some shaky Florida State special teams play in the second half to handle the Seminoles 24–7 in Atlanta. Linebacker Shaun Dion Hamilton had 3.5 tackles for loss to lead a ferocious Bama D that limited the FSU offense to just 40 yards rushing on 27 carries.
2. Ohio State: Offensive coordinator Kevin Wilson got off to a rocky start in his return to Bloomington after resigning as Indiana head coach last December, but the Buckeyes eventually took over and blew out the Hoosiers despite IU’s potent passing game producing a bunch of big plays. Freshman RB J.K. Dobbins shined in his Ohio State debut, running for 181 yards in the 49–21 win. Oklahoma comes to Columbus next week.
3. Clemson: The defending national champs no longer have Deshaun Watson, but the next chapter started out well with a 56–3 win over Kent State in which the Tigers won the yardage battle 665–120.
4. Oklahoma: Baker Mayfield was nearly perfect, and several new faces stepped up in Lincoln Riley’s head coaching debut as the Sooners had no trouble throttling UTEP. Next week, things get hairy against an Ohio State team that blew them out in Norman last year.
5. Penn State: All that single-minded focus on Akron from James Franklin paid off, the Nittany Lions drilled the Zips 52–0. Saquon Barkley was superb (226 total yards) as were quarterback Trace McSorley and tight end Mike Gesicki. Next week Penn State has a chance to get some revenge against rival Pitt, which won a shootout last year.
6. Oklahoma State: Mason Rudolph and company thumped a Tulsa team that won 10 games last year, 59–24. In the process, the Cowboys displayed a scary arsenal of weapons, featuring the deepest receiving corps in the country and a potent running attack led by sophomore Justice Hill.
7. Michigan: Jim Harbaugh’s team dumped a depleted Florida squad 33–17, outscoring the Gators 20–0 in the second half and snapping Florida’s 27-game winning streak in season openers. Despite bringing back just five starters from 2016, Michigan more than doubled Florida’s yardage output, 433–197.
8. USC: It wasn’t a dazzling showing by Sam Darnold, but the Trojans’ run game took over, especially junior Ronald Jones, as USC beat Western Michigan 49–31 after rallying from a seven-point third quarter deficit. The Broncos gashed USC’s defense for 263 yards on the ground. The highlight of the day was when long snapper Jake Olson, who has been blind in both eyes since he was 12, made his Trojans debut when he delivered the snap for an extra point in the fourth quarter. Next up, USC gets a much bigger challenge when Stanford visits the Coliseum.
9. LSU: The Tigers got Ed Orgeron’s first season as head coach off to a strong start, dominating BYU 27–0 and outgaining the Cougars 479–97 despite missing a bunch of starters. BYU ran just 38 plays the entire night and didn’t have a play longer than 17 yards.
10. Washington: The Huskies traveled cross-country and had their hands full with Big Ten bottom-feeder Rutgers before winning 30–14. Washington plays FCS Montana next week.