The college football season opened this weekend.
Oh, I know, they have been playing games for three weeks now, but those were just teasers to a weekend which finally, ultimately, and not surprisingly, gave us a sampler of a sport many critics no longer existed.
For months now, we have been bombarded with topics such as the transfer portal and essentially college football free agency, the infamous NIL decision, which allows players to monetize their skills and images and likenesses without many NCAA restrictions.
And then there was the continuing saga of conference re-alignment which created talks of Super sized leagues with little thought to geography or tradition, a mini-sized NFL.
The inner core of the game would be ruined wailed the critics.
And then came this weekend, particularly on Saturday when from noon to midnight (local time), we saw drama, as well as pageantry such as the "White Out'' at Penn State in the Nittany' Lions pulsating 28-20 win over Auburn.
We saw "the thrill of victory and the agony of defeat'' reverse itself for both teams in Louisville's 42-35 win over UCF when back to back interceptions turned Louisville from a loser back into a winner in the final seconds.
We saw "invincible'' No. 1 Alabama tested to the max--a failed two point conversion attempt by Florida--in the Tide's 31-29 road victory in The Swamp.
We saw (or a few of us) saw Fresno State temporarily derail the UCLA band wagon with a 40-37 victory over the Bruins.
It was college football at its best, a game which still is a "game'' no matter how it is changed or packaged for monetary reasons.
Who's No. 1?
Is there any doubt?
Well, maybe since Alabama looked vulnerable in its 31-29 win over Florida at The Swamp
With Saturday's latest conquest, the Tide is still best in show, but there might be more challenges than we think.
No.2 Georgia looks formidable, following a 40-13 romp over South Carolina, but the Dawgs still have to prove they can get past Alabama and beyond that...well someone still has to actually beat St. Nick (Saban's) team.
USC QB Jackson Dart
The redshirt freshman, filling for an injured Kendon Slovis, threw 4 TD passes for 391 yards in USC's 45-14 romp past Washington State.
It was bad enough for the Trojans, still absorbing a loss to Stanford, which led to the firing of coach Clay Helton, which brought USC to Pullman, Washington on a rainy afternoon, led by interim coach Donte Williams
There were bad omens from the start, when the USC chartered plane had an incident in landing, which put everyone on edge.
Then came the game, with a steady rain, an early 14-0 deficit and an injury to Slovis.
In came Dart, a true freshman, who conceded he was a little overwhelmed at the start.
""Things were going a little fast for me at the start,' said Dart, who was called to duty when Slovis was knocked out of the game on USC's first series after being sacked. ""I felt like, you know, for me to succeed I had to just forget about it and move on.''
Which he did, which will no doubt create a QB controversy which Williams will have to solve.
Oklahoma (sort of)
The 3 TD favored Sooners celebrated their 50th anniversary with former big rival Nebraska with a 23-16 victory, which looked like well, a game that could have been played in 1971.
Conversely, Nebraska is now 2-2, and has not beaten a ranked team since 2015.
The Deacons are 3-0 following a surprisingly easy win over hapless Florida State, which dropped to 0-3 following Saturday's 35-14 loss to the Deacons.
How about the ACC, which last season sent two teams (Clemson and Notre Dame the Final Four?
First, Notre Dame is now living life as an independent, which leaves the "elite'' conference teams starting with:
Clemson--The Tigers were completely dominated by Georgia in the opener, which is not a stunner.
But on Saturday, the Tigers had all they could handle in beating Georgia Tech, a 29 point underdog, in a 14-8 weather delayed game.
Clemson quarterback D.J Uiagaleiei looked overmatched completing 18 of 25 passes for just 126 yard and 0 TDs, while the Tigers produced only 284 yards of total offense.
At least Clemson won its game.
Check out some other ACC results
Michigan State 38 Miami 17--Hurricane season may already be over in
Wake Forest 35, FSU 14--How the mighty have fallen.
Western Michigan 44, Pittsburgh 41--Losing to a second tier MAC team doesn't look good on many resumes.
West Virginia 27, Va. Tech 21--Hokies self destructed again.
The Bruins were due for a letdown after a week off following their dominating win over LSU,
And Fresno State, always happy to play the role of spoiler, couldn't have been more accommodating, pulling off a late night, early morning 40-37 upset of the Bruins, their fourth consecutive win over UCLA.
UCLA couldn't run, couldn't pass well and played only minimum defense in a game which ended with an incomplete pass by UCLA QB Dorian Thompson-Robinson inside Fresno's 10 yard line.
UMass, UConn (or as they have been labeled, UMess, UCant)
Army 52, UConn 21
Huskies trailed 42-0 halftime, but did score their first points of the season against FBS schools and did cover the spread.
Eastern Michigan 42, UMass 28
Coastal Carolina and Toledo follow, but then the match up of year, UConn at UMass on Oct. 9, so some one will not be winless--we think.
GE College Bowl (Google it)
Stanford 41, Vanderbilt 23
Duke 30, Northwestern 23
Scores of Week
Colorado Mines 76, Fort Lewis 0
Abilene Christian 34, Texas-Permian Basin 9
Miami (Ohio) 42, LIU (Brooklyn) 7
Hope 27, Rose Hulman 20
They said it
Alabama coach Nick Saban, after watching his team survive 31-29 against Florida.
""Our team needs to maintain intensity throughout the game. We've got a lot of good players. We've just got to get them to play better.''
Play it Forward
Games to Watch next weekend.
Wisconsin vs. Notre Dame (Chicago)-ND coach Brian Kelly needs one win to become the winningest coach (total victories) in ND history, surpassing Knute Rockne.
Rutgers at Michigan--Unbeaten Big Ten rivals square off.
Arkansas at Texas A&M--Unbeaten SEC West rivals meet up in what was once a traditional SWC (Google it) rivalry.